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.


15. Chapter 15


Two weeks later, I was driving home from half apps with Ella and Peter when my music was interrupted by an incoming call. I briefly glanced at the control panel then answered with the touch of a button, a wide smile on my face. 


"Hello, Antonio."


"Sophia. God, I've missed hearing your voice." 


"Can't say I feel the same way."


His laugh echoed through the car speakers. 


"How have you been?"


"Great. How was D.C.?"


"The usual. Presented my research to several renowned chemists, entered in students' grades during down time, slept in a decent hotel..."


I laughed. 


"Anyway, are you doing anything tomorrow?", he asked. 


"Not that I know of."


"Perfect. I'll come pick you up, say, around five in the evening?"


"What are we going to do?"


"Does it matter? You get to be with me." I could hear the smugness in his voice, and that's when I truly began to miss him. 


"Whatever you say, Antonio."


He chuckled. 


"Are you out right now or at home?"


"I'm driving home. Just finished having half-apps with my friends."


"I see. Well, I'll let you go now. Drive safely."


"I always do. And see you tomorrow."


"Yup, tomorrow. Good night, mia bella."


"Night, Antonio."


When I got home, I brushed my teeth then slipped out of my clothes, throwing on an oversized tshirt before climbing into bed. 


Within minutes, I was in a deep sleep, dreaming of a tall, tan, smooth talking German-Italian who I had yet to admit that I was developing the slightest feelings for. 


The next day, I spent most of my time cleaning around the apartment and doing laundry. Nick and Alyssa also stopped by for lunch, and we made plans to drive down to Dad's the following weekend for Easter. 


By a quarter to five, I was showered, dressed, and ready for my date with Antonio. If it was considered a date, even. At this point, I didn't really care. As long as I still got to see him, nothing else mattered. 


At exactly five, the doorbell rang, and I went to go answer it. Antonio stood there clad in a dark blue checkered shirt and slim-fitting jeans, a pair of designer sunglasses propped on his head. He also carried a small white gift bag in his hand.


"Hey, Sophia," he greeted. 


"Hey, yourself."


"I got you something in D.C. Un pensierino."


A little gift.


My eyes lit up in surprise.


"You thought about me over there?", I asked. 


"I always think about you, mia bella." 


His alluring gaze made me weak in the knees as he reached out to tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. Then he handed me the small bag, and inside lay a snow globe containing the White House. I pulled it out to have a better look at it. 


"It's lovely."


"Like the woman holding it." A smile touched the corners of his mouth, and his eyes warmed.


I couldn't help but blush. 


"Thank you, Antonio." 


"You're welcome."


He leaned against the doorframe as I went to go put the snow globe on a shelf, and then after grabbing my purse and slipping on a pair of heeled strappy sandals, we headed out. 


"Is it alright with you if we have dinner first?", Antonio asked once we got in his BMW. 


"Yeah, of course." I smiled. 




He put his sunglasses on then began backing up out of the parking space. Like usual, Alicia Keys was playing through the speakers, and when "Fallin" came on, I started humming along. It was my all-time favorite song of hers. 


Next to me, Antonio was driving with a smile on his face, and he turned the volume up. 


"I'm guessing you're a fan of Alicia's?", I said. 


"I've always been. Her voice is incredible. She's a real artist unlike-," he paused to cough into his hand, "Drake."


I narrowed my eyes at him then turned the music off. He slid his sunglasses back onto the top of his head.


"Hey, what'd you do that for? That's my favorite song!"


I pulled out my phone, pairing it to his car via Bluetooth then selected "Hotline Bling" from my iTunes playlist. 


Antonio's eyes widened in horror, and he quickly reached for the power button on the control panel, but I grabbed his hand, pushing it away. 


"Nuh-uh. You're just gonna sit there and drive, mister."


He turned to glare at me. 


"If you don't change the song this very minute, I will dump your sorry ass onto the freeway."


I snickered. His eyes darkened. 


"How about this? If you stop playing Drake, I'll fuck you in the backseat of the car before we get to the restaurant." 


My jaw dropped. 


"You've got to be kidding me," I said. 


"Do I look like I'm kidding?" He raised a brow challengingly.


Slowly, my eyes wandered over his face then down the length of his torso before settling on the massive bulge tenting his jeans, and I could hear my sharp intake of breath. 




He smirked then suddenly, I was thrown back in my seat as he stepped on the gas. 


"Believe me, baby, we'll both benefit from this."


What on earth had I gotten myself into...




It took us an extra thirty minutes to reach LA, but the delay was so worth it. Antonio had taken the first available exit and found a deserted parking lot outside a gas station. 


The moment the engine was turned off, I'd proceeded to give him a thorough blowjob before we both climbed into the back seat and went at it like animals. Thank god his windows were heavily tinted or else I would've died of embarrassment. 


When it was over, he'd zipped up his jeans and handed me some tissues to clean up. I couldn't help but laugh at the whole situation. Never in my life had a guy screwed me in his car before, but it'd sure been one hell of an experience. 


Minus the part where poor Antonio's head kept hitting the ceiling because he was so tall. 


As he expertly maneuvered through downtown traffic, I kept checking myself in the mirror to make sure I still looked acceptable for the public's eyes. Luckily, other than my slightly messed up hair, I was fine. In fact, my skin even had a nice glow to it. 


"So, what do you feel like eating for dinner? Mexican? Italian?", Antonio asked as we approached a red light, glancing over at me. 


"Italian actually sounds really good right now."


He beamed. 


"Well, in that case, I know just the place."


He signaled, quicky jumping into the left lane before a ton of cars came speeding towards us. We drove for a couple more miles then arrived at an urban-looking restaurant in West Hollywood. 


"Angelini Osteria, huh?", I remarked, glancing up at the sign. 


"The lasagna here will knock your taste buds off, trust me." 


Antonio parked the car then went around to open the passenger door for me. I shot him a glare when I caught him blatantly staring at my legs. 


"Behave yourself, will ya?" 


"Wear a longer dress next time." He gave me a smug smile before turning on his heel to walk towards the restaurant entrance. 


I huffed, shaking my head, then got out of the car, struggling to catch up to his long strides in my heels. 


"Signore Rossi! Good to see you again," the hostess greeted with a warm smile once we were inside. She was an older woman in her fifties, with graying hair and kind eyes. 


"You, too, Signora." Antonio smiled.


Then, just like that, the conversation switched over to Italian as I stood there absolutely clueless. I'd taken four years of Spanish back in high school, which had a lot of similarities with Italian, but they were both speaking way too fast for me to comprehend anything.


The entire time, I gazed up at Antonio's radiant face in utter awe. Italian had always sounded nice to my ears, but hearing it come out of his mouth was the sexiest thing ever. 


"And who do we have here?", the hostess asked, directing her attention to me. 


"This is Sophia Weston, a friend of mine," Antonio introduced, placing a hand on the small of my back. 


"Lei è molto bella." She smiled at us both.


"Signora Moretti says that you're very beautiful," he translated with a grin. 


"Oh, thank you, Signora." I blushed slightly. 


"Antonio hasn't brought a girl here in years," she remarked, grabbing two menus. Next to me, Antonio shifted uneasily, and I noted it. 


"Could we have outdoor seating, Signora?", he asked. 


"Of course."


She directed us to a table for two on the front patio of the restaurant next to a tall heating lamp. It was getting kind of chilly since all I had on was an off-the-shoulder dress, so I was thankful for the source of warmth. 


"What can I start off the two of you to drink?", she asked. 


"We'll have two glasses of the Pinot Grigio." Antonio briefly glanced at me. "Is that alright with you, Sophia?"


I nodded my head. 


"Perfect. Did you want a moment to look at the menu, or are you ready to order now?"


"Um, Antonio mentioned that the lasagna was good here, so I guess I'll have that," I spoke. 


"I'll have the lasagna as well," Antonio added. 


"Like always." Signora Moretti smiled at him. 


"Yup. Like always."


She collected our menus then headed inside the restaurant, returning moments later with two glasses of wine. 


"Grazie, Signora," I said. 


"Prego. The food will be out shortly." She smiled. 


I took a sip of the Pinot Grigio, licking my lips in delight afterwards. 


"This is really good wine," I remarked. 


"I know, right?" Antonio grinned. 


"I'm assuming you eat here often?"


"I do. My fellow colleagues and I come here after work all the time."


"Signora Moretti seems like a very sweet lady."


Antonio smiled wistfully. 


"Yeah, she is. She's almost like a mother to me."


For a moment, we simply sat there, sipping on our wine. I glanced around at the neighboring shops and restaurants, all of which were buzzing with patrons. Giant flower centerpieces and palm trees lined the immaculate streets, and as the sky began to darken, the patio lights turned on. 


"Signora Moretti mentioned that you haven't brought a girl here in a while," I spoke, my eyes wandering up to meet his. 


"Yeah. I haven't." He gazed at me wearily. 


"You gonna tell me who she was?" I traced my finger along the rim of the wine glass. 


"My best friend."


"The one you don't talk to anymore?"


He nodded his head. 


I leaned in closer, resting my elbows on the table as I cupped my cheeks with my hands. 


"Tell me more about her."


"She moved into my neighborhood the year before my parents divorced. She had the most wonderful personality, kind of like yours, but could be such a fireball at times. We were always arguing with each other, even when we became adults."


"Was she blonde, too?" I inquired with a smile. 


"No, she was a brunette. And half Italian like me. We did everything together growing up. When my parents divorced, she was the shoulder I cried on."


He took a large sip of his wine before continuing. 


"We went to different colleges but still saw each other during breaks. A couple years after I finished grad school, we just drifted apart...went our own ways, I guess." 


He was slumped in his seat, his features tense, and the entire time he'd spoken, his eyes never once left his wine glass. 


"But she was such a huge part of your life," I said. 


"I know. Stuff happens, though. I heard from an old friend that she's getting married next month." For the briefest second, I saw anguish flicker in his eyes. 


At that moment, Signora Moretti came out with our plates of lasagna, and like the switch of a button, Antonio's cheerful face returned as he thanked her. 


Meanwhile, I struggled to wrap my head around the fact that his friendship with this girl had somehow come to an abrupt end after all those years. She must've meant quite a lot to him. Why else would it be so difficult for him to talk about her? 


Knowing Antonio and how closed off he was about his personal life, I wasn't expecting to learn anything else about her. I was surprised he'd actually managed to utter more than two or three words just now. 


Setting my thoughts aside, I looked down at the mouthwatering lasagna in front of me and eagerly grabbed my fork, cutting a piece. The moment the flavorful, melted cheese hit my tongue, my taste buds were transported to heaven. 


"Oh my god, this is incredible," I remarked, diving in for another bite. 


"I told you," Antonio said with a wide grin, taking a bite of his own lasagna. 


"It's the best thing I've ever tasted. Apart from my mother's chocolate mousse cake, of course."


While enjoying our lasagna, we talked about our college experiences, and I was the least bit surprised to hear that behind the brains and chemistry textbooks, he'd been a total player. 


"I honestly think one of the reasons my grades were decent was because I was always getting laid. It helped ease all of that pressure of academics, you know?", he said. 


I laughed. If I'd ever met Antonio back in college, I would've slept with him in a heartbeat. 


"My freshman physics professor literally told us the same exact thing. And he went to Cornell."


"See, I'm telling you." Antonio smirked. 


I tried to eat my lasagna as slowly as possible, so I could fully savor it, and by the time I finished the very last bite, I was stuffed. 


"You two up for some dessert?", Signora Moretti asked when she returned to collect our plates. 


I patted my tummy. 


"I'm literally so full right now, but if your dessert is anything like that lasagna, then yes, I'd like some," I said. 


"You sure, Sophia?" Amusement touched Antonio's brown eyes. 


"Hell, I can just vomit everything out when I get home. What do you suggest we have, Signora?"


Across from me, Antonio was shaking his head, silently laughing to himself. 


"The Apple Tart alla Milanese is one of my personal favorites. It comes with vanilla gelato," Signora Moretti replied with a smile. 


"We'll have that to share then."




Antonio excused himself to go use the bathroom, and Signora watched his retreating figure before turning to me.


"It's been years since I've seen him smile a real smile." 


A bittersweet look crossed her features, and my mind drifted to the very first night I'd met Antonio nearly two years ago. His grim expression and lack of ability to crack a smile were what I'd remembered most, apart from his devastatingly good looks of course. 


"Is that so?", I asked. 


"Sì. He's been through a lot in his life and made some unforgettable mistakes. But his heart is pure."


Unforgettable mistakes? 


I waited for her to further explain, but those were the only words that left her mouth. She gave me a rueful smile then vanished back into the restaurant. 


More than ever, I was desperate to uncover all the layers of Antonio Rossi, but he'd made it clear since day one that he had no intention of telling me anything beneath the surface. 


"What'd I miss?", Antonio asked when he returned, clasping his hands together on the table. 


"Nothing. Just wondering, what plans did you have for us after dinner?"


"So full of questions are you, Sophia? And you'll see." He smiled broadly. 


God, I could never get enough of his smiles. 


It was nearly eight by the time we left Angelini Osteria--the dessert had been amazing--and when we got inside Antonio's car, I was super anxious to see where he would take us. 


Taillights flooded Beverly Blvd as we merged into traffic, and about twenty minutes later, we ascended a mountainous road as I felt my ears begin to slightly pop. 


The surroundings were starting to look familiar to me when I finally realized where we were heading. 


"Are you taking us to Griffith Park?", I asked Antonio excitedly. 




"I've only been here during the day."


"Well, then you're in for a treat." He grinned. 


At last, we reached the top, and Antonio parked the car at Griffith Observatory, one of LA's most visited landmarks. The moment I stepped outside, I noticed that the temperature had dropped, forming small goosebumps on my bare arms. 


"You cold?", Antonio asked. 


"Kind of," I admitted sheepishly. 


Instead of making a smart comment about me not dressing appropriately for the weather, Antonio draped an arm over my shoulder, pulling me into his side. And like magic, I felt so much warmer. 


We walked over to where the ground dipped beneath the trees, and a gasp escaped my lips at the magnificent view below. In the distance, I could make out the entire skyline of downtown LA, and the city lights looked like little fireflies against a sheet of black. Somewhere to the right, I spotted the famous Hollywood sign, all lit up. 


"Breathtaking, isn't it?", Antonio murmured. 


His arms were wrapped around my waist as his chin rested on my shoulder, the light stubble gently tickling my skin.


"It's like something you'd see on a postcard," I remarked, leaning against the railing. 


I closed my eyes, savoring the feel of the fresh air on my face and wind blowing through my hair. 


"There's a telescope at the top of Griffith Observatory."


"Can we look through it?", I asked excitedly. 


"Of course." I could hear the smile in his voice. 


I leaned back against him, and his soft lips brushed against my shoulder, causing my heart to flutter. 


It was in that moment, standing beneath a blanket of stars in Antonio's strong arms, when I realized that I was falling for him. 




A/N- Ooh, things are getting good for Antonio and Sophia. Hopefully. Read on to see what happens next, and remember to like and comment! (Btw, I visited Griffith Observatory recently, and it's beautiful, just like in La La Land.)

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