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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6. Chapter 6

"I'd like a mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream, please," a middle-aged woman who reminded me too much of my high school chemistry teacher ordered, digging into her purse for her wallet. 

 

"That'll be $4.58," I mumbled grumpily. 

 

"Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning," she muttered under her breath. 

 

"Excuse me?", I snapped. 

 

Dylan, my manager, immediately noticed our unpleasant exchange and appeared at my side. 

 

"Is everything alright?", he asked, raising his brow at me. 

 

"Everything's fine. I'm just having a bad day," I replied. 

 

"Clearly," the woman added. 

 

"You've said that for the past two weeks already." Dylan turned to the woman. "I'm sorry, ma'am."

 

"No worries."

 

"Get it together, Sophia," he muttered in my ear before disappearing into the back room. 

 

So, for the remaining two hours of my shift, I forced a smile on my face. The past two weeks, I'd been moping over Chase's absence. I had no clue where he could have possibly gone, but all I knew was that I wanted nothing more than for him to have a better life, wherever he was. 

 

Alexa tried to hook me up with a bunch of her guy friends, but I seriously was so done with college boys. They were all the same--a good lay for one night and then gone the next. I ended up sleeping with one of Drew's friends a couple nights ago to try and forget about Chase, but the next morning, I woke up feeling even shittier than ever.

 

Men like my father clearly didn't exist anymore. 

 

On the bright side, I managed to secure a position as a research assistant for the chemistry department over the summer. Unfortunately, that meant that I wouldn't get to go home, but my dad and brother were planning to come visit. 

 

As soon as my shift was over, I went back to my dorm to change into a pair of jeans and my college hoodie then headed to the physics building. Tomorrow was our third midterm of the semester, and I actually felt pretty confident about it. The concepts were finally beginning to make sense to me. 

 

I found an empty spot on the third floor then pulled out my laptop and practice exams. Alexa joined me an hour later with to-go Noodles & Company for lunch, and we both studied together. 

 

If she were a guy, she'd seriously be the world's best boyfriend. 

 

"Guess what?", she spoke. 

 

"What?", I asked. 

 

"I've been going to your TA's office hours lately instead of mine. Sam explains things so much better. He had no idea who I was, but I told him I was your best friend."

 

"That's great. Yeah, he's definitely my favorite TA this semester."

 

"And he's so cute. Ugh, why couldn't he be our age. He'd be the perfect guy for you. You both love math and science and all that other stuff I absolutely loathe."

 

"Girl, you really need to stop with the matchmaking." I laughed. 

 

"I'm sorry, I can't help it. I just want you to be happy."

 

"I am. I have you. No guy will ever stand up to you, Lex." I smiled at her. 

 

Her lip began to quiver. 

 

"Sophia Grace Weston, I love you so, so much." 

 

"I love you too, Alexa Nicole Langley."

 

The students studying nearby looked at us like we were insane, and we burst out laughing. 

 

"Ok, I have to go to my management class now. I'll see you tonight," Alexa said, packing up her things. 

 

"Sounds good. See ya."

 

I debated going back to my dorm to continue studying but decided to stay in the physics building because chances are, I'd end up taking a nap instead. 

 

Halfway through my final practice exam, my lids began to grow heavy. I yawned, forcing myself to focus on the words in front of me:

 

"A circuit contains a capacitor..."

 

Wait, was that a 't' or an "I"...

 

...Dang, since when was this table so comfortable...

 

***

 

I was dreaming of sunny beaches back home in California when a gentle tap on my shoulder awakened me.

 

"Sophia?", a male voice spoke. 

 

"Hmm?" 

 

I slowly blinked my eyes open, feeling groggy from sleep. My TA, Sam, stood in front of me with an amused expression on his face. 

 

"Sorry to wake you up, but some of the physics professors are about to have a meeting in this area."

 

"Oh shit, I'm so sorry. I didn't even realize I fell asleep." My cheeks were flushed with embarrassment. 

 

And please don't tell me I'd drooled. 

 

I touched my cheek to be sure and breathed a sigh of relief when I felt nothing. 

 

He chuckled.

 

"It's all good."

 

"I was just studying for the midterm tomorrow. Then the numbers started getting blurry."

 

"How long were you studying?", he asked. 

 

"Since eleven."

 

Sam glanced at his watch.

 

"Well, it's six right now."

 

My eyes widened in horror. 

 

"Oh my god, I slept through my entire calculus discussion."

 

Sam laughed and began rearranging the chairs and tables as I quickly put all my things away. Before today, I hadn't missed a single class. Thank god it was only discussion and not lecture or else I'd be screwed. 

 

The physics professors started to show up for the meeting, and Sam greeted each one of them before joining me at the stairs. 

 

"You have another class today?", he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets.

 

"No. I'm just gonna head back to my dorm." 

 

"Yeah, you definitely deserve a break. I'm heading home, too."

 

"Do you live nearby?"

 

"I live about fifteen minutes away from campus," he replied simply. 

 

"Oh, that's not too far."

 

He nodded, and we continued down the stairs. When we reached the main entrance of the building, he turned to face me. 

 

"I won't be proctoring the exam tomorrow, but I wish you the best of luck, Sophia."

 

I smiled at him. 

 

"Thanks, Sam. I know I've said it many times already, but I really appreciate all your help."

 

"Anytime. Physics is definitely a challenge for many first-year students, and you should be proud of how much you've improved since the beginning of the semester." 

 

He gave me a smile, and I bid him goodbye before heading in the direction of my dorm. 

 

No wonder Alexa adored Sam; he was absolutely charming. I made a mental note to remember to attend his graduation in May with Alexa. The other students in my physics lab had also planned on going, too, since they all loved Sam. 

 

The moment I was in the vicinity of my residence hall, I noticed a group of frat boys hovering by a sleek, black Mercedes parked at the entrance. 

 

The owner of the car was talking enthusiastically to the students, using a lot of hand gestures, and when I got closer, my eyes widened in recognition as a huge smile lit up my face. 

 

"Dad!", I called, running towards him like the little girl that I still was. 

 

"Sophia!", he exclaimed, catching me in his strong arms. 

 

"God, I've missed you," I said, smiling up at him. 

 

"I've missed you, too, pumpkin." He grinned, giving me a peck on the forehead. 

 

"Aww, your dad still calls you pumpkin," Brady, one of the frat boys remarked, clutching his heart.

 

"You bet he does. And what does your dad call you, Brady? Pain in the ass?"

 

He feigned a look of hurt. 

 

"Anyway, what are you doing here?", I asked my dad. 

 

"I took the rest of the week off to come visit my favorite daughter. Keith is in charge while I'm gone," he replied. 

 

"Aww, dad, that's so sweet of you."

 

"These nice boys here were telling me where I could get a delicious dinner. You wanna join your old man for a big, juicy burger or are you busy tonight?"

 

"You know I can't possibly turn down a burger. Are we going to Annie's Parlour?"

 

"Yes. I hear their burgers are the best."

 

"They are. Trust me dad, you'll love them."

 

He smiled, the lines by his eyes deepening, then reached into his rental car for a giant bag filled with God knows what.

 

"Just some things I thought you'd need to make it through the rest of the semester."

 

He handed the bag over to me. 

 

"Aww, you're the best," I beamed, giving him a big bear bug. 

 

"I'm gonna go check in at the Commons Hotel real quick then I'll come by to pick you up. Sound good?"

 

"Yup. Love you, dad." 

 

"Love you, too, Sophia. To the moon and back."

 

"You look good by the way. Been hitting the gym every day?", I teased. 

 

He winked, flexing a muscular arm, and I couldn't help but laugh. I watched as he got in the car and drove away before heading into the residence hall. 

 

All men aged, with the exception of my father. Every time I saw him, he seemed to get younger. The only time I remembered him ever looking old was in the years immediately following my mom's death. Tonight over dinner, I was planning to ask if he'd been seeing anyone. Maybe that's why he looked so young. 

 

A large part of me wanted him to move on and be happy, but at the same time, I wanted it to just be him, me, and my brother, Nick. It'd been that way for so long, I couldn't imagine a different woman in my mom's place. 

 

"Goddamn, your dad is one cool guy, Sophia," a frat boy whose name I couldn't remember remarked, interrupting me from my thoughts. 

 

"I know," I said proudly. 

 

"You never told us he was the Derek Weston of Weston Hotel Group."

 

"I prefer to not tell anyone."

 

Except for Chase...he was different.

 

"I get it. You don't want other kids asking you to pay their college tuition for them, right?"

 

And this was exactly why I hated the majority of college boys. 

 

Ignoring him, I took the stairs up to my floor, and when I reached my room, I found Alexa with her head on her desk, fast asleep. I set the bag my father had given me in the corner then grabbed a blanket, draping it over her body. 

 

In record time, I was able to finish showering and change before my father returned. While waiting for him, I proofread my physics lab report that was also due tomorrow and quietly laughed to myself at the thought of my TA watching me doze off. 

 

Apparently, I used to talk in my sleep, according to my mom, but thank God I'd finally stopped doing that. 

 

A little after seven, my dad and I got a table for two at Annie's. 

 

We both ordered mushroom cheeseburgers and a basket of fries to share, and I fought back a snicker when I noticed our waitress's eyes lingering just a tad too long on my father. 

 

Even at the age of forty-six, Derek Weston managed to make the ladies swoon with his handsome looks. Back home in California, he was a total celebrity, but here in Minnesota, my dad could finally be a more 'normal' citizen.

 

"So, how have your classes been going this semester?", he asked, his hands clasped together on the table. 

 

"I'm doing really well, actually. Physics is my biggest challenge, but I have a really great TA. My third midterm is tomorrow morning."

 

"That's wonderful, sweetheart. Are you still certain you want to be a chemical engineer? I hear their jobs are very demanding and quite stressful. You could always go into marketing or sales--less of a toll on the brain." 

 

"Dad, you and I both know I hate the business field. I love math and science. I mean, how cool would it be to work with chemicals on a daily basis?" 

 

"If that's what you truly want, then I'll support you one hundred percent." He smiled warmly. 

 

I took a sip of my root beer then decided to switch the subject.

 

"So, dad, I'm just wondering...have you been seeing anyone lately?"

 

He was quick in responding. 

 

"Yes. In fact, I've gone out with a few women. But nothing serious. Mostly just one-night stands--a man can only stay celibate for so long."

 

He sighed before continuing. 

 

"Your mother was the only woman for me." 

 

His blue eyes saddened as his shoulders slumped, and I reached for his hand. 

 

"Dad, are you happy living like this? I know how much you loved mom, but maybe it's time you moved on. If you do, I won't hate you or anything. You deserve to be happy."

 

He gave me a sad smile, and I wanted to just cry in his arms like I did when we first found out my mother hadn't survived her heart attack. 

 

"I am happy, darling. You and Nick bring so much joy and light to my life. That's all I'll ever need."

 

I wiped away a single tear that managed to escape. 

 

"God, I love you, dad."

 

"You better. I nearly got into a car accident driving to your dorm from the airport. Thank god we don't get snow in San Diego."

 

I laughed. 

 

"So, wanna tell me about your love life here in college?" My dad smirked. 

 

"It's quite dull, actually. I'm just gonna focus on my studies for now."

 

He raised a brow questioningly, stroking his chin. 

 

"Something tells me it's not as dull as you say it is. Just now, I saw a flicker of sadness in your eyes."

 

I straightened up in my chair, fidgeting with my napkin. 

 

"Did someone break your heart, Soph?", my dad inquired with a look of understanding. 

 

Yes, I wanted to say to him. 

 

"Not necessarily. I mean, we were just two very different people. It wouldn't have worked out anyway." 

 

"I see. You're only nineteen, sweetheart. You've got plenty of time to find the right guy for you. And when you do, he better be worthy of you. Treat you like the princess that you are. God knows I won't ever let you settle for some sleazy scumbag."

 

I mentally winced, my dad's words like a blow to the face. 

 

If only he knew about Chase...

 

"Like a princess, huh?"

 

My dad nodded firmly. 

 

At that moment, the waitress returned with our burgers and fries, and before digging in, I made a vow to myself that I'd forget about Chase.

 

Because what was the point in being heartbroken over somebody I'd never see again in my life?

 

 

 

A/N-Hey guys, hope you're enjoying this story so far! Just last week, I finished all of my finals, so I'm officially done with my freshman year of college. Now that I'm on break, hopefully I'll be able to write more. With that being said, remember to like and comment!

 
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