Girls Like Boys

Every Night

I didn’t talk to Charlie until Thursday. I’d texted Wesley multiple times through out the week, but I knew it was better to give Charlie time to adjust before Ram and I spoke to him again. He called me Thursday night. Ramsy was out with new friends from one of her classes, but I’d opted to say in the room instead. Travis was stretched out on my bed, arms folded behind his head as he stared at the computer screen. I sat at his side, arms curled around my knees while I tried to watch the movie, despite Travis’s commentary.

My phone was on the desk when it rang and I crawled to the end of my bed to get it. When I saw Dad on the screen, I immediately climbed up and paused the movie. Travis frowned at me, pushing up so he was sitting back against the headboard.

“Who is it?”

I lifted the iPhone to my ear. “My dad. Shut up.” I slid the bar across the screen to answer the call. “Hey, Charlie,” I greeted, surprised by how eager I was to hear his voice. It’d been almost an entire week since I last saw him. It felt like just yesterday that he’d given us a taser lesson and drove away with Wesley. But, oddly, it felt like months since I’d actually heard his voice.

”Cody, hey,” he spoke, clearing his throat before he continued, ”I just wanted to check in. I hadn’t heard anything from you or Ram so I figured it’s been going well down there.”

I dropped into my desk chair, the desktop computer shielding me from Travis’s watching eyes. “Yeah, honestly, it hasn’t been too bad,” I told him. “My classes are okay so far. There’s this one psychology professor that’s making us participate in like six experiments outside of class though. She sent the information in an email, so that’s pretty shitty, but everything else has been pretty cool.”

”Wesley told me as much,” Charlie said. ”I tried to call your sister earlier, but she sent me a text saying she was at dinner with friends. Are you guys back now?”

“I didn’t go with her,” I replied. “She made some friends in her Pols class so I’ve been giving her time to get to know them before she introduces the super creepy, identical twin.”

Charlie was awkwardly silent in a comforting kind of way. Phone conversations were different because he wasn’t much of a talker in the first place. Our conversations were mostly comprised of silences. Just knowing he was on the line was enough. ”That’s good of you, Code,” he said finally. ”I’m proud of you for branching out. Have you made any friends of your own?”

“I thought college is only for learning,” I joked. “Wouldn’t want to get distracted by friendship.”

Charlie chuckled. ”Yeah, you’re right, but don’t forget to have a little fun down there. You’re going to need something to talk about when you come home to visit.”

“I’ll make sure to get blackout drunk a few times just so I can impress Esther,” I said, laughing at my own joke. “How’s she doing, by the way? I bet she loves having Ram and I out of the house. Did she move any of her stuff into our room yet?”

”Maybe not blackout drunk,” Charlie recoiled. ”You can’t give us any good stories if you don’t remember them. But Grandma’s fine. Enjoying the peace and quiet, but so far she’s kept to her own room.”

“Good to know,” I commented, picking at the rips in my shorts. “I miss you, Dad,” I said, glancing around the computer to Travis, who was intentionally trying to make himself preoccupied with something else.

Charlie let another wave of silence wash over us before he spoke. I reveled in it, biting my bottom lip between my teeth as I waited for words to follow. ”I miss you too, Cody.”

I nodded and climbed up from the chair, my bare feet pressing into the white, fluffy rug of Ramsy’s. “I’ll call you soon,” I told him. “I won’t wait so long. I love you, Charlie. Pass it on, okay?”

”I love you,” he repeated. ”Pass it on.”

I ended the call and turned around so I could flip the movie back on. The only light in the room was from the lamp on Ramsy’s desk. Our blinds were open, so there was noise and light seeping in from the street below, but three stories up, we were cradled in our own little world. I set my phone back down on my desk and reclaimed my spot beside Travis.

Sitting up still, he wrapped his arm around my shoulders and tucked me into his side. I stared a the computer screen, which we’d turned around to face us, and Travis watched me. “You good?” he questioned, dark eyes scanning my face. “Freshman year is tough in the beginning.”

“I’m fine,” I answered, not looking at him.


I titled towards him, expression clean. “Really, Travis, I’m bummed that my dad’s so far away, but I’m fine. I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to come here. I’ll be fine.”

Travis nodded slowly, chin dipping down in the darkness. “Yeah, okay,” he agreed, shifting back so he was sitting a little straighter, giving me a little more room next to him as he scooted towards the wall on his left. “What do you want to watch next?”

“Amityville Horror,” I answered, grinning. “I saw it when we were flipping through. I’ve just been waiting for this to get over with so we could change it.”

Travis laughed, rolling his eyes at me as he slid out from behind me. He climbed down to the end of the bed and turned the movie off. “Next time, say something,” he said. “This isn’t very good anyway.” He scrolled through the queue until he backtracked to Amityville and started it. He threw himself back into his spot and I leaned forward so he could situate himself.

“I haven’t seen his in forever,” he admitted as he pushed me back against my shoulder to let me know that he was comfortable again. His knees were bent and he slipped back under my blankets, fixing them around us.

I pulled the black comforter up around my shoulders, draping it over Travis in the process. We weren’t moving as it started, and except for the noise on the street below us and the movie’s track, there weren’t any other sounds in the room. We were barely fifteen minutes in when the door flew open and Ramsy came in, pausing just inside the doorway when she was the two of us in the dim light.

She flipped on the overhead light and I crawled down to pause the movie.

“You again,” she said, dropping her stuff onto her bed. She looked back at her own desktop computer to check the time. “It’s after eleven. What’re you still doing here?”

“Dad called,” I intersected. “I think he was checking to see if you’d made it back alright. He was kind of surprised that I wasn’t with you. What did you guys do tonight?”

“We got dinner at this place near campus and then went bowling in the den,” Ramsy answered, gaze lingering on Travis as he smiled at her. I looked back to him and he pulled the blankets up around him more. Ramsy looked to me. “What’ve you guys been up to?”

“Dinner across the street and then movies up here,” I explained quickly. “We just started Amityville, you in?” I stood up from the edge of the bed so I could tilt the screen enough so she could see it from her bed.

“I need a shower,” she declined before turning her words to Travis. “Are you staying?”

“I was planning on it,” he answered, brushing his hair back out of his face. “I’ll look away when you get dressed. Pinky promise.”

Ramsy shot a glare at the boy. “For real, Travis, I have class in the morning. Are you leaving any time soon or are you just living here now? I don’t mind your beautiful face in the daylight, but it’s almost midnight and I’m exhausted.”

“Ramsy, you sleep with movies on all the time,” I answered, standing between them. “Travis will leave the room while you get dressed and then you can go to bed and we’ll finish the movie. It’s not a big deal.”

“Is he sleeping over or something, because I don’t see why he can’t just leave and watch the movie another time. There’s class tomorrow,” she said. She walked to her closet and reached in for her shower caddy despite her words.

Travis shook his head. “I don’t have anything until ten,” he spoke. “I can drive you tomorrow though. I was planning on taking Code anyway so it’s really not a big deal.” He shifted, pushing the blankets away so he could climb to his feet.

As he stretched, his t’shirt rode up. He was in jeans that were too long for him and bunched around his ankles. They were so low on his hips that the elastic of his briefs showed until he pulled his shirt back down. “I can go hangout in the commons when you’re in the shower, if you want,” he offered. “Cody can come get me when you’re dressed and shit.”

Ramsy rolled her eyes. “No, it’s fine,” she said, sounding sincere. “Just get out when I get back.” She exchanged socks for flip flops and padded across the hall to the bathroom to take her shower.

I clicked the big light off and stepped around Travis to get back in my bed. He turned around and joined me, switching spots with me. He turned the movie back on and got under the blankets.

“Is she good? Because I can leave if you want me to. I don’t want to piss off your sister,” he spoke, eyes sliding from the movie to me genuinely.

I shook my head. “She’s fine. She just gets grouchy when she’s tired. There’s no reason for you to leave. She’ll be asleep as soon as she gets in bed. Plus, why should you leave when you have to be back at nine to drive us?”

Travis grinned at me, earning my whole attention. “Are you inviting me to sleep over, Cody Carrigan?”

I frowned at him. “Don’t be an idiot,” I retorted. “It’s not like I’m inviting you to jump me. I’m just saying, it’s dumb to drive home when you’ll be back in six hours after you leave.”

Travis shifted so that he was laying down completely. “I accept your invitation,” he said formally. “Thanks for offering.”

Ramsy was in the shower almost a half hour before she came back into the room, wrapped in her robe with her hair wet around her shoulders. Travis climbed out of bed and smiled as he slipped past her into the hall, shoeless. He’d changed out of his jeans and into the same pair of basketball shorts as the other day. He’d just brought them back over today and already he’d made use of them.

I kept my eyes on the paused computer screen as Ram got dressed. “Trav is going to drive us in the morning,” I told her,.“He’s just going to stay over and leave when we leave in the morning since it’s easier for everyone.”

Ramsy slipped her shirt down her body and turned to stare at me. The movement caught my eye and I turned to face her too. “Where’s he going to sleep?” she asked, “and what if he has to pee at three in the morning? There’s no guys’ bathroom, Cody.”

“I’ve snuck him into the bathroom before, Ram, calm down,” I answered. “It’s not like he’s going to sneak into your bed in the middle the night. He’s going to sleep over here, next to me, and keep to himself.”

“I don’t care if he stays the night, I just don’t know why you two have to be together every minute. You’re not dating.” She stepped back until she was leaning against the end of her bed, looking at me with calculating eyes. "And you've only known each other a week."

“We’re friends,” I answered. “I like hanging out with him.”

“I have friends too, but we don’t sit around in the room all day long. What do you and Travis even do in here?”

“I don’t know, Ramsy,” I complained, turning away from her. “We do the same thing you and your friends do, we just do it here. What’s the problem?”

She frowned. “We’ve been here six days and you already ditch me to hangout with Travis. You barely know him, Cody. You could’ve come out with me and Harper tonight, but you decided to hangout with him again.”

“Travis is my friend,” I retorted. “I’d rather hangout with my own friend than tag along while you hangout with yours, Ram.” I sighed and scooted back farther onto my bed. Travis was still in the hall, but he was fine out there. No one was going to be bothered if they saw a sock-clad boy in pajamas waiting in the hall.

“I’m glad you made a friend,” Ramsy said, “but it wouldn’t hurt to get out of the dorm once. Did you tell Charlie about Travis?” She grinned at me, wiggling her eyebrows.

I laughed. “God, no. If he knew Travis was here this late, he’d freak. I’ve got to wait until we’ve been here a couple months before I tell him my best friend is a guy.” I continued, “And by the way, we aren’t always in this room. We do eat in Burke, you know. And Travis bought Taco Bell yesterday. We ate it here, but that doesn’t really count because we had to go out to get it.”

“Speaking of Travis,” she said to stop my rambling, tilting her head toward the door. “Are you going to let him back in any time soon?”

“He’s fine.” I shrugged. “Are you really okay with this? I can send him home if you want, but I’m not going to make him come back and drive us to class in the morning.”

Ramsy shrugged, trying hard to still seem upset. When she couldn’t, she sighed at herself, grinning. “I guess it’s fine, Cody, but keep him on your side of the room.”

I grinned too and went to the closet to change before letting Travis back inside. “He bought me food last time he drove me to class,” I said while she got into her bed and plugged her phone in. “So chances are he’ll buy us breakfast in the morning.”

“He bought you food because he likes you,” she muttered, giving me a look. “He’s not going to want to buy us both stuff tomorrow, Cody.”

“He doesn’t like me,” I replied as I yanked my shirt off and replaced it with a baggier one, “He’s just got a lot of money, so he doesn’t mind.” I kicked off my jean shorts and grabbed a pair of joggers from the bottom drawer of my dresser instead.

“Rich parents?”

I shook my head. “No, he buys and sells cars. Fixes them up, I guess. That's what he said, but I think he’s running a drug smuggling ring or something. Anyway, he doesn’t worry about money at all. You should see his car, Ramsy, it’s insane.”

“You’re joking, right?” she asked, sitting up in bed. “You don’t really think your new best friend is into drugs, right? Because that’s fucking crazy and you really shouldn’t be getting into that stuff. I don’t care how cute he is.”

I blanked, turning to gauge her expression. “He’s not my new best friend, Ram,” I answered, “and yes, I’m joking. He promised me it was just cars.”

“You believe him?” she questioned, “and I was just repeating what you said, by the way. About him being your best friend. You said it first.” She avoided eye-contact as she gathered her hair up and tied it high up on her head. She only ever put it up when she was going to bed, unlike me, who permanently pulled mine back and out of my face.

I racked my brain for what I’d said. “I didn’t mean it like that, Ramsy,” I told her, recalling. “You’re my best friend, you know that. Travis is my only actual friend here so that makes him my college best friend, by default. Like Harper is your college best friend until you meet someone better.”

Ramsy laughed at my phrasing and threw one of her throw pillows at me. “You can’t just ‘meet someone better’,” she denied. “God, Code, you’re so blunt.”

I finished retying my hair, switching it from a bun to a ponytail so it wouldn’t hurt to sleep on, and crossed the room to the door. “I’m letting Travis in now,” I warned her. “Last chance to change your mind.”

“Go ahead,” she relented. “Have a slumber party with your college best friend.” She tucked herself into her bed and motioned for me to hurry up so she could turn the light off.

I pulled the door open. Travis was leaning against the wall across the hall, staring at the floor like he was bored to death. He looked up, hunter eyes landing on me. “You took forever,” he commented, pushing off the wall and brushing past me into the room. “I mean, damn Ramsy, how long does it take you to put some clothes on?” He shot her a look as he passed and threw himself down into my bed.

Ramsy looked at me, a kind of ‘is he for real?’ look. I chuckled and shut the door after him. Locking it for good measure. “Shut up and scoot over to your side of the bed,” I demanded as I crossed over. I clicked play on the movie, Travis moved closed to the wall, and Ramsey turned her light off and pulled the blinds closed.

“Nights, guys,” Ram said, shuffling to get comfortable in her bed.

“Night, Ramsy,” Travis answered. He laid back and positioned himself so that I could lay against him in the small bed. He wrapped his arm around my back and pulled me in close to keep me from toppling off the edge.

“Night, Ram,” I echoed.