Iris stared into his eyes for as long as she could get away with and perhaps a little longer, his lips curled into a smile as he regarded her interest.
"So Iris, this is the first time I've seen you down here." He stated.
"I guess i don't come to the beach that much." She murmured.
"That's a shame, i practically live here." He gestured to the ocean.
Cody wasted no time in welcoming Iris into his little group, he showed her his surf board proudly.
"I've never seen anyone surfing out here." Iris exclaimed.
"Yeah the waves aren't so great around here this time of year, just a couple of ankle busters, come the summer time we'll be out there twenty-four seven." He told her.
Iris smiled as she listened to Cody talking about surfing, it was clearly his biggest passion.
His whole face lit up as he talked about the waves he had caught, "Yeah me and Dalton caught some heavies last summer."
"You should come check us out this year Iris!" Dalton interrupted.
Iris noticed that the girl they were with, who Cody had introduced as Alex hung back and didn't join in the conversation she just kept on rubbing down her surf board and staring over at the three of them talking.
"So what were you taking photo's of earlier?" Cody asked.
"Oh i just took a few shots of the falls and a couple of those water beetles over there." She stopped herself short wishing that she could take back her words, stupid Iris! Guys don't want to hear a girl talk about bugs!
"Oh yeah? Hey i saw something pretty cool over the far end of the beach earlier, you wanna check it out?" Cody asked.
"Sure!" Iris answered, relieved that he hadn't looked at her like she was weird.
"Over here Iris! Check it out!" He called.
As she approached she noticed him bending down and scooping up a beetle from the sand.
"Oh! I think it's a light beetle." She exclaimed, grabbing her camera she started taking shots although the camera may have focused in on Cody more than the beetle.
"So you're really into this stuff huh?" Cody asked, releasing the beetle back to its sandy home.
Iris hesitated before replying, he didn't seem to be freaked out by it so she guessed it was OK to come clean, "Yeah, i love the outdoors, i guess i feel at home here." She confessed, hoping she didn't sound totally lame.
"Me too." Cody agreed, "I don't get those Sims who just sit indoors all day in front of the TV, where's the fun in that?"
Iris giggled and smiled again, much more of this and my jaw is gonna start aching, she thought. But she was happy to take a little pain as long as it went hand in hand with spending time with Cody.
"Cody! Come on we gotta go!" Alex called him from the other side of the beach.
"Aw bummer, she's right!" He said glancing at his watch, "I gotta split Iris, but its been excellent hanging out with you."
"Y-you too!" She called as he ran away towards his friends.
Iris slumped to the sand, she had hoped he would ask for her number or whatever guys do when they like you, maybe the bug talk was too much, she berated herself.
She looked up to see Cody standing close by, "I forgot to ask if you were doing anything tonight?" He said smiling.
Iris shook her head no, "We usually meet up here on Saturday nights if you can make it?" He offered.
"Sure." She replied, her heart beating out of her chest.
"See you at 8 then." He beamed before running off along the beach.
Iris ventured back to the beach that evening, she was still a junior so her curfew was 10.30 on a weekend, she hoped they wouldn't make fun of her for leaving so early.
As she approached, Cody was stoking the fire while the others warmed themselves.
"Hey Iris! You made it." He called spying her arrival.
"Hey!" She replied nervously, "I brought marshmallows to toast." She ventured.
Alex burst out laughing, "This ain't girl guide camp!"
"I like marshmallows." Cody said smiling at Iris.
Although Alex had made fun of them she sure did tuck into them with great pleasure, Iris thought watching her suspiciously.
So far she hadn't said much to Iris and what she had said had been snarky, i wonder what her problem with me is? Iris wondered.
She was soon distracted though by the sight of Cody. The light from the fire pit created a soft glow across his already perfect face and Iris found herself staring at him from behind her marshmallow.
"So Iris tell us about yourself." Dalton encouraged.
"Yeah we know you like bugs, but what else?" Alex snorted.
"Erm, well I'm a twin." She announced, "I guess that's sorta interesting?"
"Hot is the word you're looking for!" Dalton quipped, prompting a raised eyebrow from Cody, "What? Twins are hot." Dalton shrugged.
"Are you identical?" Cody queried.
"No Ivy is blond."
"But is she single?" Dalton pressed.
"No she's been dating the same guy for years now." Iris apologised.
Alex suddenly sprang from her seat and yelled, "Come on guys lets have some fun! Who's up for a little dare?"
"I bet i can hold my hand over the fire longest." She challenged them.
"No way Alex you blow at this game." Dalton replied, instantly taking up her dare.
"Actually you both suck at it!" Cody replied joining in.
Iris stood back and watched as they each placed a hand over the fire and tried to hold still the longest.
She noticed the look in each of their eyes, a kind of wild excitement seemed to have washed over them at the thrill of the game. They must be adrenalin junkies, she thought.
It seemed like ages since the game started and still all three had refused to concede and admit defeat.
Suddenly Alex withdrew her hand sharply and yelped in paid.
The two boys just roared with laughter at her predicament but Iris rushed to her side to offer her help.
"Oh Alex are you OK?" she asked worriedly.
"It's nothing." She mumbled, shaking her hand back and forth to cool it in the crisp evening breeze.
"Let me see?" Iris asked.
"I said it's nothing!" She yelled.
Drawing her injured hand to her body she gave Iris a wounded look and ran away back up the dirt track which lead to the beach.
"Hey Alex! Come back!" Dalton yelled after her.
"Just leave her dude." Cody said, rolling his eyes.
"Did i do something wrong?" Iris asked looking worriedly at Cody.
"Nah, it's not you it's just Alex. She hates to lose." He explained.
Iris smiled at his reply, but she wasn't so sure that, that was Alex's problem.
"It's getting late." Cody announced, "Do you need to be home soon?"
Iris glanced at her watch and noted that it was 10.15, "My curfew's in 15 minutes." She admitted ashamedly, not wanting to put too fine a point on the fact that she was younger than him.
"Need a ride?" He smiled.
Cody's truck was parked up by the entrance to the beach, "Looks like you're in the back with the boards Dalton." He laughed.
"I think I'm gonna go look for Alex." Dalton called before running off into the night.
"After you." Cody offered, opening the door for Iris.
He was so thoughtful, first giving her an easy escape from the embarrassment of her early curfew and now making sure she got home safe.
Safe was just how Iris had begun to feel in his presence, as though she was free to be herself.
The next day Cody called her and invited her out to the beach again.
But when she arrived she realised that it was just the two of them, is this a date? She wondered.
"Hey Iris." Cody waved to her, "You up for some fishing?"
"Sure, but i don't know how." She admitted.
"That's OK I'll show you, come on I'm all set up over here." He gestured to the two rods he had prepared.
Cody showed her how to bait the hook and cast the line out to sea, as he demonstrated the movement required to cast out far enough Iris couldn't quite get the hang of it so he came up behind her and placed his hands over hers telling her to move back gently then whip the line as fast as she could.
Iris could hardly concentrate as his hands touched hers, It was as though a volt of electricity had passed through her.
They stood for hours, soaking up the late autumn sunshine and waiting patiently for a bite. Suddenly Iris's line began to jerk and bob in the water.
"Hey we gotta live one!" Cody called, helping her to reel it in.
He presented her with the tiniest fish she had ever seen and said, "Hmm it might be kinder to just throw this one back."
She laughed and nodded, thinking how amazing he was.
Iris's blossoming relationship hadn't gone unnoticed by Ivy who decided to confront her one lunch time.
"Hey i saw you hanging out with those seniors earlier, how d'you know them?" She pried.
"I met them at the beach a couple of weeks ago." Iris replied cautiously, "Why?"
"It's just, well you know about them right?" She asked raising her eyebrow.
"No what?" Iris replied.
"They're stoners!" Ivy mouthed dramatically.
Iris laughed, but Ivy persisted, "It's true, Debbie Rickman saw them under the bleachers."
"Ivy you don't even know them." Iris complained, "Please don't ruin this for me, i really like this guy." She begged.
Ivy sighed, "OK, I'm sorry i just don't want to see you end up with some waster."
"Cody isn't a waster." Iris snapped irritated at her sister and her gossipy friends, "I think he might be the one." She revealed.
"Really? You're not going to rush into anything with him are you?"
"So what if i am?" Iris asked, losing her patience, "He's the only guy who's ever liked me for me, he doesn't think the things i like are dumb."
"I get it Iris, but he's a senior, he isn't just gonna want to hold your hand." Ivy advised.
"Like i said, you don't know him. Cody is different." She retorted before storming away.
Ivy sighed, if only her sister weren't so naive she might have noticed that most teenage guys were the same when it came to sex, she hoped her sister wasn't in over her head.
But Iris had fallen hard and when Cody took her to the falls that weekend and held her hands in his she knew without hesitation that he was the one. They were like two sides of the same coin and she could not deny the way she felt whenever she was with him."Iris?" He asked softly, "There's something I've wanted to do for a while now and, well, would you mind if i kissed you?" He asked fixing her with his ocean eyes.
She pulled away for the briefest of moments, suddenly self conscious that this was her first kiss, her first glimpse of romance, but as Cody stared deep into her eyes she turned toward him and allowed him to brush his lips to hers.
When Iris opened her eyes she noticed the sunset reflected in the lake, the beauty of the falls as they washed over the rocks at the base and the call of the birds from their tree top homes, none of this was as perfect as the experience of kissing Cody.
He took her hand in his and lead her back towards the dirt track down the mountain, Iris knew then that there was nothing that she wouldn't do for Cody and nothing that she wouldn't give to be with him.