Some people think that being an only child is the worst position to be in but those people seem to have overlooked being the youngest child.
Now i know what you're thinking and sure you're right, I'm only younger by two minutes, but that seems to have set the scene for my life.
I was always just behind Ivy.
She came into this world before me, she discovered boys before me and she had life figured out well before me.
Ivy seemed to know instantly what she wanted and boy did she know how to get it.
For whatever reason Ivy just had "it", whatever "it" is.
Simon Cowell calls it the "X" factor while others call it star quality but to me it was just the Ivy factor.
She was special, and i was average.
No one was immune to Ivy's charms, especially our Dad.
Ivy was a Daddy's girl through and through and he like everyone else couldn't help but to give her what she wanted.
The minute we grew into teenagers she demanded her own room, she was so mad when he told her "no!" I don't think she'd ever heard that word before.
She soon changed tack though and turned on her charm,
"But Dad I need to have my own identity." She told him, "Iris and I aren't the same person, i need my own space to grow!"
I swear it was as if she'd scripted it earlier!
Of course he relented, being a politician he loved a persuasive argument.
Naturally Ivy had wanted the room at the back of the house with the balcony overlooking the City skyline and who was i to deny her?
"Iris if you let me take this room I'll style your hair for you everyday, I'll do your makeup, I'll even lend you my clothes." She coerced.
Dad would always say that he never worried about Ivy because she understood the way of the world, to Ivy everything was a trade off, you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
But i didn't want any of those things i could care less about all that girly stuff, now if she had offered to take my turn at trash duty she would have been onto something, but that was never going to happen!
"It's OK Ivy, you take the room." I told her.
So you probably think I'm some kind of push over and Ivy is some kind of selfish monster, but she's not.
For as long as Ivy has been able to talk all she has ever wanted was to be a famous actress, she says it's because she could see the bright lights of Bridgeport calling to her from her crib.
She loves that view and i would never take it from her.
So maybe now you're thinking that I'm just jealous of her after all she's the vivacious blond one it would be easy to feel insignificant standing next to her, but that's not it at all, i love my sister.
But even she would have to admit that she gets an easy ride.
Take Bobby for example, from the moment we all met He and Ivy were inseparable.
It seemed instantaneous.
One day we were Ivy and Iris and the next they were Ivy and Bobby, joined at the hip and now at the lips.
They had been an item since grade school when they made me officiate over their "wedding" we were 10 years old!
Of course boys weren't the only thing that came easy to Ivy, school did too. She was popular and her and Bobby were the couple everyone wanted to hang with.
Then there's me.
I'm not saying that I'm some kind of social pariah, far from it i have guys talk to me some even ask me out on dates, but as soon as I start to talk about myself, my interests, i see their eyes glaze over and i realise they only want me on their arm as some kind of trophy, they don't care who i really am.
Like i need that.
Besides i had my own reasons for wanting the spare room, it had the better view, in my opinion.
I could sit for hours staring out at the hills, they were unspoiled and beautiful whereas the City was all cold hard metal, the hills were lush and green.
As soon as the weekend came i headed out away from the City, i would jog for miles to the City limits just to be at one with nature.
The air out there was so fresh, so clean, so smog free. I would fill my lungs hoping it would last me all week.
Ivy always looked at me like i had two heads when i would get home and tell her all about the amazing run I'd taken and the beautiful butterflies i found in the middle of nowhere.
And if i tried to describe to her the calm that washed over me when i took the hike on the beaten track up to the highest peak she would shake her head.
"Iris why don't you come and hang with us at the park?" She would say.
"It's just not me." I always told her.
Oh and i can't forget Hope, my half sister.
I know a few kids at school whose parents are divorced and they have step brothers and sisters too but they are always complaining about them, like they're jealous if they get better birthday gifts or something.
Hope told me once that she used to be jealous of me and Ivy because we lived in the hills and our house was so much bigger than her Mom's.
She said she thought that Dad loved us more because he loved our Mom more than her Mom.
I didn't get it at the time but when i think about her now I guess it must of been tough not being a full time part of either family she was always somewhere in-between.
But now she lived with us full time, since Grady's accident she was a different person, Mom said she had retreated into herself.
I figured it was her way of dealing with what happened to him.
Most of the time she would just sit in our old jungle gym and stare into space, if she wasn't there she was at the hospital sitting with Grady.
At least he had been moved to a private hospital, his Dad, Orlando Belle, had stumped up the cash for his care.
Mom says he's just trying to erase his guilt but at least he's helping out.
I wish someone could help Hope but there's no getting through to her. Maybe the holiday we are taking will help.
Mom finally persuaded Dad to take her to Champs Le Sims and we all get to tag along for the ride, probably not what she had in mind for her belated honeymoon, but i guess that's what happens when you have kids.
I'm going to see the world before i settle down, there's so much to explore outside of Bridgeport and anyhow i can't imagine that I'll ever meet a boy who's more interesting than the adventures i have on my own.
My Dad is taking us out for lunch today and then I'm hoping i might get some alone time, time to discover all that France has to offer.
Champs Le Sims is a beautiful village set in the French countryside and i can't wait to get on my hire scooter and check out the wildlife but Dad seems awfully keen to get us all to convene in the square first.
As we sat down Mom made some excuse about going to browse through the store and Dad pulled out three disposable cameras and set one each before me Ivy and Hope.
"What's going on?" Hope asked, eyeing the camera suspiciously.
"I just wanted you all to be able to take home some memories of our holiday." He started, "And while we are all here there's something i need to discuss with you."
The three of us looked nervously at each other.
"Shouldn't we wait for Mom?" Ivy asked.
"No, I've already talked with her about this." He replied.
"I've decided who will inherit the house and i wanted to tell you all together." He announced.
I instantly looked away and started to consider all the great shots of the local area i could capture with my new camera, i was certain that Dad would pick Hope, after all she was the eldest and maybe it was the pick-me-up she needed.
"Iris!" I snapped back to reality at the sound of him calling my name.
"Huh?" I asked.
"I said it's you Iris." He confirmed.
"Me! Are you sure?" I managed to ask.
"Yes, I've made my decision." He said.
I looked around at my sisters to gauge their reactions.
Ivy seemed stunned by the news.
And Hope looked as though she couldn't believe her ears.
"Dad i don't know what to say." I uttered, "I mean why me?"
"Iris when i was around a year older than you are now your Grandma told me exactly what i just told you so believe me when i say i know how you feel. I know it's overwhelming but when i weighed everything up i realised that you need this responsibility the most."
"Whatever, can i go now?" Ivy asked.
"Me too?" Hope echoed.
Dad nodded to them both and they left us alone.
"They're gonna be really mad with me." I said.
"No Iris they won't, I'll talk to both of them separately later. Your sisters will understand, i promise you."
"What if i said i didn't want it?" I asked quietly, hoping not to offend him.
"I understand why you would say that. I know that of all my children you are the least confident in yourself. But Iris, sweetheart, that's why i want this for you."
I sighed before replying, "But what if i mess up?"
Dad threw his head back and laughed,
"Iris I'd bet on it, but that's the point everyone makes mistakes that's how you learn. Now why don't you go figure out how that camera works, i can see you're dying to."
I didn't need to be told twice, snatching the camera from the table I kissed his cheek and dashed toward my hire scooter.
Dear Diary, scratch everything i said about being youngest it turns out I'm not last at all!