Girls Like Boys

Day One Exposure

“Cody, do you have all your stuff?” Ramsy shouted through our bedroom window fifteen minutes later. “I made your bed and you forgot your phone under your pillow.” She held it up against the screen like proof that I really had.

“I was coming back in,” I answered, glancing at Wes’s wrist to see his watch. “We have time, don’t we? I don't think it's time to leave yet."

“You two need to eat,” Esther said from the screened in porch.

Ramsy cranked her head to try to see her, but the angle was all wrong and it was impossible. “I’m not hungry,” she said, disappearing back into our bedroom, “but I wouldn’t mind stopping for coffee, Charlie!”

I leaned to my left so that I could see through the porch into the house. When I couldn’t see our dad, I figured Ram was shouting blindly, knowing that he could hear her in the small house. Either way, he didn’t answer her and she went back to picking up our room while Wes hopped down from the truck and wrapped his arm around my shoulders.

“I can’t wait until you two are out of here,” he said, grinning at me. I jabbed him in the side with my elbow and headed inside. Esther stepped back as I came through the porch and I continued to our room.

“I’m riding with Wes,” I told Ramsy. “Which means you get Dad, congratulations.” I quickly grabbed my bag off my bed and darted out of the room before Ramsy could argue with me.

But she followed just as quickly. “Cody, that’s not fair, you’re better with him!” she shouted after me, chasing me down the hall and hooking around the kitchen into the living room. I violently shook my head without ever turning back to her.

We rushed past Esther, each of us trying to get to the passenger’s side of the cab. Wesley stopped and watched us as we shoved each other, trying to pry the door open just enough to fit through. “I call dibs!” Ram shouted, positioning herself between me and the door. I pushed my palm flat against the window to stop her from pulling it open and slipping inside.

“I just called dibs,” I argued, lips parted as I glared at her.

“It doesn’t count if no one heard it, Cody,” she said, narrowing her eyes at me the same way, “and I didn’t hear anything. You can’t just pretend like you said it.”

“Oh come on,” I muttered, releasing my palm from the door as Wes nodded, taking her side.

“I didn’t hear anything either, Cody.”

“Fine, you win,” I said darkly, “but I call dibs on picking my side of the dorm.” I looked at Wesley sarcastically. “Did you hear that one?”

He assured me that he did and Ram was dumbfounded and a bit annoyed at my ploy, but she wrapped her arms around my neck anyway, grinning into my hair as she leaned onto me. “I can’t wait to get there.”

Charlie appeared from wherever he’d spent the majority of his morning and checked the truck to make sure everything was secure. He asked if we had our move-in information, checked for the temporary parking stickers he’d printed this morning, and then we divided - Wes and Ramsy taking the truck and Charlie and I in the green ’69 Camaro that he absolutely loved.

The eight hour trip seemed exhausting, but it went quicker than I expected. Wes and Ramsy stayed in sight nearly the whole trip and she would call me when we passed through any major city. We talked all the way through Nashville, Tennessee, and she called again as we maneuvered through Birmingham. The closer we got, the more we talked, and I even caught Charlie smiling a few times as he listened in on the conversation.

It was still light out when we pulled into the parking lot of our hotel, which was practically across the street from campus. I got out of the car as Wesley and Ramsy parked beside us. I couldn’t stifle the excitement and nervousness that I was feeling and I couldn’t even separate them. Ram jumped out of the truck and threw herself into my arms, practically screaming. I held onto her just as tight as she practically dragged me down, yelling and pointing to the university.

“Okay, stop screaming and grab your bags,” Charlie demanded, smiling at us from the back of the Camaro. “We should check in and then get dinner, all right?”

“I want to go see the campus and find our dorm!” Ram answered, grinning wildly as the two of us traipsed across the parking lot, after them. “I bet it’s all so beautiful in person!”

“You’ve got the next nine months for that,” Wes answered. “I’m starving.”

“Me too,” I added, grinning at the look I got from Ramsy in return.

“Can we at least go somewhere close by?” she asked. “We need to start figuring out the best places to eat and hangout and we need to start meeting people. I bet there are a bunch of people here already.”

“Fine,” Charlie said quickly. He probably hadn’t heard what she said, but she was happy and quiet for the moment as he turned to check us into the hotel for the night.

The woman behind the desk noticed Ram’s shirt as she handed over our room keys to Charlie. “Welcome to Bama,” she said.

And Ramsy responded, “Roll Tide!”

I gave her a look, wondering where that had come from, but stayed silent as we headed up to our floor. I was tired from the ride, so I knew Charlie and Wesley had to be exhausted from driving. We'd only made a couple of stops on our way down, and only for a few minutes each time.

“We could just order room service,” I told them both as the elevator opened onto our floor. “Like Wes said, we’ve got plenty of time to check out campus tomorrow.”

“Wait, no, come on,” Ramsy said. “We can just go get pizza or something, Charlie, please?”

“Yeah, that’s fine,” he answered, pushing his dark hair out of his face as he met Ram’s smile, “but get settled in and then look up the closest pizza place.”

Ramsy was practically already in our room and I offered them both a reassuring smile before I followed her in, dropping onto the queen sized mattress as she fished out her laptop. “They’re probably really tired, y’know,” I said, not bothering to sit up as I spoke to her. “You’d live if we ordered something here.”

“He said he didn’t care,” she said softly, not looking away from the screen as it booted up. “Plus, it’d be nice to have one last dinner with them. You know Charlie’s gonna be upset when he has to leave tomorrow.”

“I know,” I answered softly. We’d never spent much time away from him, and despite the fact that we called him by his name, we were still really close to him as our father. I honestly couldn’t picture him getting in the car and leaving us here anymore than I was sure he wanted to.

“Are you going to miss them?” I asked a couple minutes later. I hadn’t moved from my spot, but Ramsy was already changed into dinner clothes and doing her make up in the dresser mirror.

She faltered at my question, turning back to meet my eyes. “Yes,” she said. “A lot more than I thought I would, I think.”

“Me too.”

We were quiet for a moment, each of us thinking about what it really would be like when they left us, but Ram didn’t linger on it too long. She was up and insulting me in minutes. “Are you wearing that?” she questioned, her expression telling me exactly what she thought about my yoga pants and t’shirt.

“I was planning on it.”

“Well don’t,” she said, turning to my suitcase where I’d left it on the floor near the bed. “I’ll find you something. You can’t go out for the first time looking like a bum. This is our first impression and someone might remember you in the future and think it was me.”

I rolled my eyes and heaved myself into the sitting position. “Just tell them it was your twin sister. I’m sure they’ll believe you, Ramsy.”

She wasn’t impressed by my sarcasm. She forced a pair of jean shorts, a white tank top, and a beige cardigan into my hands. “Take your hair down too, you look like you just rolled out of bed.”

Between the two of us, we probably had five feet of blonde hair. Mine was just a few inches longer than hers, but straighter. While hers waved near the ends and landed at the end of her rib cage, mine fell straight down to my lower back.

I took it out of the oversized bun and fastened it into a ponytail instead, pushing through the pieces with my fingers. I changed quickly and slipped my white Converse back on while she switched her things into her purse rather than her backpack. I stuffed my wallet in when she wasn’t looking and put a smile on my face when she asked if I were ready to go.

She wore white shorts and Crimson Tide tank top under her gray cardigan with flats and slipped the room key into her pocket as we walked into the hall to meet Wesley and Charlie for dinner. Neither one of them had changed clothes and Ram didn’t say a word about it. She stayed at my side as she relayed the pizza place information to them both. We decided to take the truck since the Camaro’s backseat was still filled with our stuff.

We had to drive through campus to get to the place Ramsy picked and I figured she’d done it on purpose. I had to admit that it was beautiful. The lights were just starting to come on as the sky darkened, shifting between shades of pinks and purples. Ram pointed out all the buildings that she could see the names on and swore that she remembered seeing a couple of them on her schedule.

The parking lot we pulled into was almost full and I silently cursed Ram for picking the most populated place on campus. Her first priority wasn’t food, but mine was, and I knew by the number of cars that we probably wouldn’t be seated right away. Wesley seemed to come to the same conclusion because he spun in his seat and glared at us. I pointed at Ramsy.

“I had nothing to do with it. I’m innocent.”

“If I starve to death you two will have to come all the way back home for my fucking funeral, so lets hope that doesn’t happen, huh Ram?” he asked cynically as he got out of the truck and opened the back for us.

“Why would I have to come home?” Ram answered.

“I’d miss you,” I told Wes as I passed him.

Surprisingly, we didn’t have to wait to eat at all. Charlie led the way over to a table, following a college-aged waitress through the crowded bar to one near the back. I practically crashed into my chair and dived for the menu. Wes leaned into my side to read over my shoulder.

“I vote fries,” he said, leaning back into his chair and throwing his arm over the back of mine. “They’ll come quicker than the pizza,” he added, earning Charlie's nod of approval.

“Code, look they’ve got Bama shirts on too,” Ram said in that way that told me their shirts weren’t the only thing she noticed about them. Wes and I both glanced back in their direction, following Ramsy’s eyes to them. Our synchronicity caught the attention of a couple people at the table and they matched our gazes. Ram looked back to me, but I looked them over, taking in more than the numerous Crimson Tide shirts.

“They’re not bad.” I grinned at her.

Charlie pretended not to hear us.

“They look very spirited,” Wes added, smirking. “Go team.”

Ram rolled her eyes at him. He never was one for school spirit.

“You wear your stupid hockey jerseys,” I said back at him. “How’s that any different?”

“Because I don’t get together with my buddies and coordinate our outfits before every game. We wear uniforms, get out on the ice, and kick ass.”

“So you’re saying it’s fine to play the sport but not support it?” Ram asked, pointing out the hypocrisy. “Where would you be without fans, Wesley? Someone has to be in the stands cheering for your stupid ass.”

The waitress returned with our drinks and Charlie told her our order. We got the same thing every time we went out for pizza and a new state wasn’t going to change it. We didn’t even need to discuss it. She promised to be back with our fries in just a few minutes and I watched her go, eyes catching on the same table as earlier.

“Cody, stop staring,” Ramsey said, waving her hand in the air, “They might see me on campus and think I’m you and not want to talk to me because they’ll remember how creepy you’re being.”

“They were staring first,” I retorted, meeting her eyes. “If they get to do it, why can’t I?”

She discreetly glanced past Charlie back at them. “Who was staring?”

I looked at them again, unabashed. There were five of them stuffed into the booth, each wearing a different University of Alabama t’shirt and jeans. Their food was gone, but they were still cracking up at whatever they were saying to each other. My eyes landed on the one on the end. “The dark haired one,” I said, then clarified a moment later. “With the black shirt.”

“You mean the one with the lip piercing?”


“And tattoos up his neck.”


She stopped looking at him and turned to me, pressing her elbows down onto the table. “So, you’re talking about the one who’s now staring directly at you.”

My eyes flickered to her. “Yeah, that’s the one.”

Our little exchange had caught both Wesley’s and Charlie’s attention and they looked over, alarmed by the description Ramsy gave. The guy noticed the sudden male attention he was getting from our table and pulled his bottom lip between his teeth, smirking. A couple moments later he met my eyes again and held it, and when I didn't look away, he dropped his gaze before turning his attention back to his friends.

Wes leaned back into his chair again. He’d straightened up and leaned protectively against my arm as a sort of silent warning. He slid his arm leisurely over the back of my chair again and grinned. “This is definitely going to be an interesting experience, huh Dad?”

Charlie wasn’t amused.

The waitress brought the fries, and soon after the pizza came and the other table cleared out. This time I was too concerned with the cheesy food in front of me to pay them any attention, but I didn’t miss the fact that the dark haired guy’s eyes stayed on me as he rounded our table and headed out.

Charlie didn’t miss it either. Ram grinned at me before stifling it with a bite of pizza, trying to look uninterested when Charlie turned his dark eyes on her.

“Don’t be getting any ideas,” he said to both of us, entirely displeased with our enthusiasm over a little attention from some boys. “I swear to god that I will send Wesley down here to live with you if I find out anything about either one of you and any kind of boys like that.”

“Does that include good Catholic church loving boys, too, Dad?” I asked.

He pinned me with a glare, but even that couldn’t stop Ramsy and I from sharing cheeky grins across the table.

The rest of our meal was a lot less amusing, but Charlie didn’t shake off the protective, pissed-off father persona that he’d put on, so Ram, Wes, and I mostly spoke between ourselves, shoveling down as much pizza as we could before we headed back to the hotel for the night.
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This is the Carrigan house. I designed it myself.