Girls Like Boys


When we turned into the driveway of Travis’s house, Shay and Ryan were already waiting to throw the garage door open just as Benji drove up. Benji pulled straight in and shut the car off, effectively hiding the conspicuous vehicle from any cops that might still be looking. I got out just as fast as him, scanning the cars parked inside for the silver Acura that Travis stayed behind in.

Ramsy looked bewildered at the sight of Benji instead of Travis. She stood off to the side, arms crossed over her chest as she watched me take in the cars.

“Where’s Travis?” she asked, nodding to Shay, Benji, and Ryan as they stood around near the far door, preparing to pull it open in case anyone else showed up.

“He stayed behind,” I said, anger rolling off of me in waves. “They couldn’t get the stupid car started, so he stayed to try to fix it.” I noticed Benji’s guilty glance in my direction, but didn’t acknowledge or console him. He’d been just as quick to let Travis stay behind as Travis had been to sacrifice himself.

Ramsy frowned. “You haven’t heard from him?” she asked, leaning back against the wall.

I held up his phone so she could see. “He left it in the car,” I told her. The cars that were in the pit recently had been cleared out to make room for tonight. “Where’s the BMW?” I asked, noting that the Mitsubishi was the only car inside.

“Garage,” Shay answered, turning back from his spot.

The boys surged forward as a honk sounded once quickly from outside. I rushed back out of the open space as they threw the garage door open.

The first thing that I noticed was that the car was the wrong color. Instead of silver, it was red. And instead of Travis behind the wheel, it was Erick. He pulled in and slammed to a stop as the guys yanked the garage down behind him.

“What took you so long?” Ryan asked, coming around to his friend as Erick got out of the vehicle. “You were one of the first to get out of there.” The other guys nodded.

Erick glanced around. “It was a mess,” he said. “Everyone tried to go the same way so I doubled back to get away from the traffic. Where’s Trav?”

Ryan frowned. “Not back yet,” he said. The tone of his voice told Erick everything he needed to know.

Erick nodded slowly. “I’m sure he’ll be fine,” he said, shaking it off. “He’ll probably head back when everything calms down. There’s still a few drivers out there attracting attention.”

“The car was stalled,” I pointed out, stepping toward them. “How is he going to get back in a car that won’t start?”

“I’m sure he’ll think of something, Cody,” Shay answered softly. “We’re all worried about him, but don’t stress yourself out. If he doesn’t show up in the next few hours, we’ll start looking for him.”

“You’re not going to find him if he’s in jail,” I retorted. I turned back and weaved around Erick’s car to the obnoxious-colored Mitsubishi. I threw the back door open and grabbed mine and Ramsy’s bag.

Seeing what I had, Ramsy stood up straight and headed my way. “I’m ready to go home.” Ramsy nodded.

I shook my head, put off by her apathy. “I’m going to look for Travis,” I said as I fished my keys out of the bag. “I can’t just sit around waiting to find out if he’s in jail. He doesn’t even have a phone.”

Ramsy frowned at me. “It’s two AM, Cody,” she said. “You’re not going to find him. It’s better if we just go home. I’m sure one of the guys will call us if he shows up.” She reached out and grabbed the keys from my hand.

“Do you even care at all that he could be in jail right now?” I asked, stepping back from her.

Ramsy sighed. “What are you going to do if he is, Cody? He knew what he was getting into tonight. And he knew what he was doing when he stayed there and made someone else bring you back.”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “You’re mad at him?”

Ramsy clenched her jaw and steadied her gaze on me.

“What could you possibly be mat at him about, Ramsy?” I asked incredulously. “He’s done nothing wrong and you’re not even worried about him.”

“I’m not mad at him!” Ramsy countered. “I’m mad because you always act like such an idiot around him. You left me and ran off to ride with Travis! Travis, who sent you away with someone else, Cody.”

“He was trying to help his friend!” I exclaimed. “He didn’t want Benji to get in trouble too, and he knew that Benji could get us back.”

“I don’t care,” she said, shaking her head. “I want us to go home.”

“I’m not going,” I countered. “I’m going to wait here for Travis. If you want to go, then go.” I nodded toward the front door and the garage that it opened up into.

Ramsy stared at me. “It’s two AM and there were just cops everywhere, and you want me to go by myself?”

“If you’re worried about being alone, I’m sure one of the guys would follow you in the BMW,” I replied.

Ramsy smiled ironically. “I don’t want a bodyguard, Cody,” she spoke. “I want my sister.”

After a moment, I shrugged. “And I want Travis back, but sometimes we don’t get what we want.”

Ramsy paused for a moment and then shook her head as she walked away. She grabbed the bag from me and walked away without a word, heading to the garage where the truck was parked. Despite the fact that she had my wallet, I didn't stop her. Instead, I turned toward the stairs.

"Cody, Ramsy," Ryan called softly. "Come on, don't storm off."

I climbed the free floating stairs and headed down the catwalk-hallway.

The boys stood facing us, me on the catwalk and Ramsy hurrying off to the main door. When neither of responded, they gave up. In my periphery, I saw Ramsy shoulder open the door and disappear into the dark garage. I slammed Travis's bedroom door behind me.

I used Travis's bathroom, and then when I was sure Ramsy was gone, headed back downstairs to wait in the living room with the guys. I kept Travis's phone and my own on me in case he called either, but neither screen lit up. I curled up on the back couch as the guys idly watched TV. They sent me sparing looks as the time passed by, but didn't say anything. I wasn't sure if it was because of my interaction with Ramsy or my feelings about Travis's stunt that they gave me space, but most likely a mix of both.

I dozed off as it got later, waking up again and again with thoughts of Travis. The third time I woke up, the living room was dark and the guys were asleep on the couches around me. The infomercials on the TV told me that it was late rather than early. I pulled the blanket up over my shoulders and frowned when I noticed the pattern.

Franticly, I searched the space around me for Travis's cell phone and came up empty. I pulled my own phone out from beneath the cushions and tossed it back down onto the dark blue comforter. I threw the blanket off and climbed up, rounding back to the stairs.

I flew down the hallway and shouldered Travis's door open, creating a ruckus as it banged into the wall. The room was dark, except for the light coming through the windows. Travis was in bed, sitting up with his phone in his hand.

"Trav," I breathed, and darted across the room. I jumped into his bed and wrapped my arms around his bare shoulders. He dropped his phone and caught me, holding me against him so I didn't topple us both over.

"Where have you been?" I asked.

Travis laughed lightly. "I'm sorry, Cody," he said, fingers tangled in my hair. "I had to lay low until everyone scattered."

"You couldn't come back to the house?" I asked, sitting back on my knees to look at him. "You couldn't call to tell me that you were okay? You should've told me when you got back."

Trav grinned. "You were asleep,” he countered.

I smacked his shoulder. "It doesn't matter," I said. "You should've woke me up. I was waiting for you to call."

"I'm sorry," he said again. “The guys usually have faith that I'll make it back." He shifted under the sheets, motioning for me to sit down rather and kneel in front of him.

I dropped into the spot next to him, noting that he didn't have a comforter on his bed. "You gave me your blanket," I commented, slipping underneath the sheets.

Travis shrugged. "I'm not too sure how clean the blanket in the spare bedroom is," he said easily. "I would've brought you up here, but I wasn't sure if you wanted to wake up in my bed with no idea how you got here."

I eyed him. "It's not like we haven't slept in the same bed before." I grabbed one of the pillows from behind him and laid back, pulling his sheet up around me.

Travis grinned. "If you were coming up here to sleep, you should've brought the blanket back," he said, mimicking my movements. He laid down so that he was facing me and crooked one arm underneath his head.

"Go get it," I said, stretching out so that I was laying on my stomach. "Why's your room so cold?"

Travis sighed and sloughed out from under the sheets. "Because I like it that way," he said. He didn't bother to grab clothes as he moved around the bed and headed to the open door. He left the room in a pair of boxers and I peered after him, trying to make out the tattoos on his back.

I heard voices in the hall when he came back, and he said goodnight as he separated from the others. With the blanket bundled up in his arms, he kicked the bedroom door shut behind him.

“You woke them up?” I asked, referring to Ryan, Benji, and Erick. I scooted up as Travis threw the blanket over me and then climbed in on his side.

He shrugged and dropped into his spot. “There’s no reason for them to sleep down there when they have their own rooms.”

I nodded, figuring that Erick must’ve taken the guest bedroom. Even though Travis had offered it to me once, it seemed like it belonged to anyone who happened to be staying the night. I heard the other doors close along the hall and then the guys were silent.

Travis handed my phone to me. “It was on the couch,” he said as I leaned back the opposite way to set it on the night stand. “There’s a text from your sister.”

I frowned and woke the screen, noting that Travis was right. “She’s upset that I left with you instead of her,” I told him, knowing that he’d read the text already. I set it back down without responding.

He was quiet for a minute, but he nodded when I looked to him, waiting for his reply. When he saw me gauging his reaction, he spoke, “You should’ve stayed with her, Shay, and Ryan,” he said softly. “It would’ve been less risky.”

I shrugged childishly. “Nothing happened,” I said.

Travis narrowed his eyes at me. “But it could’ve, Cody, and you know that. The only reason I let you in the car with me is because there wasn’t time to argue with you. I almost got arrested tonight and you weren’t the far off either.”

I frowned. “You got away in a car that wouldn’t even start for Benji,” I answered. “There was no reason that you wouldn’t have been able to get away in a perfectly working car.”

Travis sighed and laid on his back. He answered without looking at me, instead choosing to stare at the ceiling of his room. “I’m not perfect, Cody,” he said. “And I’m not just saying this to get on Ramsy’s good side, but you should probably listen to her more often. It’ll keep her from being pissed at both of us.”

“Ramsy doesn’t have a good side,” I replied.

I watched Travis smile. “So I’m guessing that you didn’t tell her about Thanksgiving.” He rolled over so that he was facing me and raised his eyebrows.

I shook my head, matting my hair against his dark blue pillowcase. I didn’t need to explain to him that it wouldn’t go over well now.

“We’ll just have to wait her out,” Trav said, tucking my hair back out of my face.

“It’s only a few days away,” I answered, implying that Ramsy would stay stubborn and mad longer than that.

“Then apologize,” Travis said easily. “I’m sure you can get her to come around. There’s no reason for you both to be miserable over the holiday if you don’t have to.” He trailed off as he spoke, quieting as he listened.

Catching his expression, I listened too, surprised to hear the sound of the front door opening. Travis climbed out of bed quickly, traipsing down to the end before getting to his feet. He moved to the window that overlooked the pit and peaked through the curtains. After a second, he sidestepped to the door and walked out onto the catwalk.

“Benji, what are you doing!?” he asked, calling down to the first floor.

I climbed out of bed and chased after him, stepping out into the hallway beside him. He held onto the railing with both hands and I stopped at his side, turning to face the front door too. Benji stepped back in and I purposefully hid my surprise when a girl followed him in.

My first reaction was to jump back into Travis’s bedroom, but Benji shot us both a grin, pinning me in place. “Go back to bed, Trav,” he said, grinning at his friend. “It’s none of your business, man.”

Travis’s eyes narrowed. “It’s four AM,” he said. “How do you even manage to get someone over here at this time?”

The girl was slim and tall, and her hair looked burgundy in the dim lighting. She wore a pair of shorts and a tank top and stared up at Travis and me without saying a word. I glanced sidelong to the half-clothed boy. The two of us looked a mess - me fully dressed with matted hair and wrinkled clothes, and Travis, unabashed as he leaned over the railing and berated his friend.

“Cody’s here, man,” Trav commented, making me shy away as he turned their attention to me. “Did you really have to do this tonight?”

Benji led the girl from the front door to his bedroom door, which was just a few steps away. “You’re the one that woke me up,” Benji retorted. “If you would’ve just let me sleep then I wouldn’t have been conscious to make these decisions.”

Travis eyed him as Benji pushed his bedroom door open. From this angle I could barely make out the disheveled sheets on the bed, but I got a clear view of his closet, which was overflowing with things.

Both Benji and Travis laughed as they headed separate directions. Travis put his hands on my shoulders and turned me back towards his bedroom. He pushed the door shut and pulled the curtain closed on the window overlooking the pit and Benji’s room.

“Sorry about him,” Travis said as he headed to his dresser. He grabbed the TV remote and flipped it on, turning up the volume conspicuously.

I shrugged. “I don’t care,” I said, trying to sound nonchalant.

Travis turned and grinned at me. “Are you okay?” he asked, throwing himself back down onto his bed. “If I knew it was really going to bug you, I would’ve told him to hold off.”

I shook my head. “I really don’t care what Benji does,” I said, sitting down on the edge of his bed. “I’m fine.”

Travis nodded, not at all convinced, and turned his attention to the TV. “What do you want to watch?” he asked, blessedly trying to change the subject.

I glanced at the screen, shifting so that I was facing it and Travis again. Travis looked to me, leaning back on his hand.

“I forget how innocent you are sometimes,” he said, laughing lightly. “Seriously, Cody, it’s no big deal. Just relax.”

I frowned at him. “You’re the one making it a big deal,” I responded. “I said that I’m fine.”

“Because I can see the look on your face,” he laughed. “You look like a deer in the headlights. Have you really never been in the same house as two people having sex?”

I scrunched up my nose in disgust. Travis could be blunt when he wanted to be. “I’m fine,” I said again, shaking my head at him like I couldn’t understand why he kept asking. “If you’d let it go, I’d be great.”

Travis grinned and climbed back so he could lean against his headboard. “What are you going to do when your boyfriend brings it up?” he asked, making a point to throw in a dig about Jack.

I glared. “I’m not dating him,” I said, “and I wouldn’t sleep with him even if I was.”

Travis turned and settled his gaze on my face. This close, even in the darkness, I could see how green they really were. I glanced away. “Why not?” he asked, spreading the comforter out over us.

I frowned at him and at the question. “Because I don’t want to, Travis,” I replied, shifting away. I settled back into the bed, slipping underneath the covers. “Not everybody wants to have sex all the time.”

Travis rolled his eyes. “Sleeping with the guy you’re dating isn’t ‘having sex all the time’,” he commented. “It’s normal.”

I pulled the blanket up to my chin. “So,” I said, “I’m not dating anybody so it doesn’t matter anyway.” I rolled so that I was on my side and tucked my arm under the pillow I stole from him.

“I’m not saying that it matters,” he said as he laid down and matched my position. “I’m just curious.”

“About me,” I filled in.

Travis shrugged. “You’re not really an open book,” he said, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. “If I don’t ask, you won’t tell me.”

“I don’t ask you about your sex life,” I said, practically buried underneath the covers.

Travis’s leg knocked into mine as he stretched out. “You could,” he said, falling onto his back. “I don’t really care what people know about me.”

“I noticed,” I said.

Travis grinned and elbowed me. “It’s not such a bad thing, Code,” he answered. “Half the time it’s not true anyway. I just really don’t care what people think because none of it matters.”

I rolled my eyes and Travis shot me a surprised and incredulous look.

“What’s that face for?” he asked. “You don’t believe me?”

“Why should you care what people think?” I asked. “It’s easy for you not to. You’re attractive, successful, smart, and you’re a guy. It’s not like people have much to say bad about you.”

Travis grinned. “I’m offended that you think I’m so grand,” he said, shaking his head. “In fact, I think you’ve overlooked how brooding and misunderstood I am, Cody.”

I gave him a look, lips parted as cocked my head at him. “How though?” I asked, shaking my head as he laughed at me.

“Three months of friendship and you still don’t understand me,” he tsked, shaking his head.

“Oh yeah right,” I retorted, pressing up on my elbows so that I was almost face to face with him. “You’re dramatic for sure, but the rest of it’s in your head, Trav.”

He grinned and shook me off as I reached out and slipped my fingers through his hair, pushing his head back to accent my point. He shook his head, giving me a knowing kind of smile. "Shut up and go to sleep," he said, dropping back and yanking the blanket up over his bare shoulders.

I laughed and laid down as he went quiet. The TV was the only noise in the room besides Travis's breathing, and the screen flashed colors onto his bare back as he rolled over onto his stomach and tucked his arms beneath his pillow. He fell asleep first, the muscles in his back loosening as he drifted off from the stress of the day.
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"We don't pray for love, we just pray for cars." - Starboy

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