It had been three months since Iris and Cody had shared their first kiss, but one just wasn't enough for them. Iris finally realised why Ivy had stuck to Bobby like glue, kissing someone you love was addictive.
When she was in Cody's arms the world seem to melt away, Iris was on cloud nine and she never wanted to come down.
Although they spent most days and evenings together, Iris had never seen the apartment he lived in with his father. She knew that they were poor as his Dad had not worked in a while but when she showed up unannounced at his door she was shocked by the squalid area and the run down block that he lived in.
"Iris! What are you doing here?" Cody asked, clearly annoyed that she had shown up on his door without warning.
"I wanted to surprise you." She said quietly, sensing his unease, "I was hoping to meet your Dad."
"I have my reasons for keeping you away from this place." He replied touchily, ushering her out of the lobby and away from his home.
Iris decided not to press the matter further, things had been going so well between them and she didn't want to risk initiating their first fight.
A few weeks later and Iris had not seen or heard from Cody in days, she began to worry that her showing up at his door had driven him away. She knew that he was fiercely private when it came to his family as he would always change the subject whenever she raised it but she hadn't expected him to cut her out for trying to find a way in.
She ventured down to the beach hoping to find him at his second home.
There he was sitting staring out to sea, Iris approached nervously and sat beside him.
"Hey." She said simply.
"Hey you." He answered her softly.
"I was worried about you." She continued.
"I'm sorry Iris, I've just been dealing with some stuff is all." He replied.
Iris looked up and noticed the rucksack at his side, "What's in there?"
"That Iris, is my life." He replied, "Or at least it's everything i own."
"I don't understand, are you leaving?" She asked her heart rate increasing with panic.
He smiled wryly a pained expression crossing his eyes, "No, at least not yet." He admitted bitterly.
"Cody, please i don't understand." She pleaded grabbing his hand and pressing it to her lap.
"There's a reason i kept my home life away from you." He began the words catching in his throat, "I guess it's obvious from what you saw the other day that my family is worlds apart from yours, i mean your Dad is the Mayor and mines a deadbeat drunk." He bit his lip trying to control his emotions.
"Tell me what's happened Cody, please." She pressed.
"My Dad's kicked me out, he said he doesn't want me around anymore." He admitted.
Iris squeezed his hand tighter, "I'm sorry Cody." She mumbled, unsure what to say.
"It's OK. I'm used to him not giving a crap about me, it's been that way ever since my Mom left. He says i remind him too much of her and thinking about her makes him angry." He shook his head in frustration, "I had it all figured out too, until met you." He sighed.
"What do you mean?"
"Me, Dalton and Alex we made this plan our freshman year, we promised each other that we would get outta this City and travel the world. Anything but give up on life and do some boring 9 to 5 job. But then you show up on the beach that day and, now i can't imagine my life without you in it." He admitted.
Iris felt the hope swell in her chest at his admission.
"I can't leave not without you Iris, but i can't stay either. I figure i can get away with crashing on the beach until graduation but after that..."
"After that you're leaving?" She asked her hope deflating fast.
He shrugged and kicked at the sand with his feet, "That's what I've been trying to figure out these past few days." He sighed, "I know what i want Iris, i want you to come with me."
She gasped at his proposal, "I know it sounds like I'm asking a lot but think about it, we can travel the world together. Imagine all the places we'll see all the nature and the wildlife, it would be so perfect."
"What about school?" She asked, "I don't graduate for another year."
"I know." He replied, running his fingers through his hair in frustration, "I can't ask you to leave, i know i can't but i have to go Iris. If i stay here I'll end up in some crummy job that i hate and every day I'll sit behind a desk as a part of my soul is destroyed."
"But if you leave how will you live? If you don't work you won't be able to survive." She countered.
"We got it all figured out. We're gonna compete in surf competitions all across the country, the world even. Then when we've made enough money we're gonna open a beach bar or maybe a surf academy. We made a pact that we would never give up on our dreams, that we would never let them die."
Iris could see the conflict written across his sun kissed face. She had known from the minute she met Cody that his passion for surfing and for life was the most important thing to him, she couldn't now allow herself to be the reason that he turned away from those dreams.
"It's only a year until i leave school. You could make a start on winning some prize money and then we can be together, i could come with you." She offered.
He smiled at her but the tortured look did not leave his face. "You'd really want to leave Bridgeport? Leave your family behind?" He asked.
Iris felt her face fall as she realised that she could never go with him, she had too many responsibilities here since her Dad had made her heir.
She knew if she told Cody that they could never share his dream together that he might chose to stay, and maybe they would be happy for a while, but eventually he would grow to resent her.
So instead she said, "My family will understand."
A smile spread across Cody's face and he virtually leaped up from the log they were perched on.
He headed for his rucksack and said, "Help me put up the tent?"
Iris nodded and proceeded to assist Cody. The tent was just a small canvas one and they erected it in no time.
Once they had finished Cody lit a fire and produced some fish for them to cook.
"This is how my life will be from now on." He told her, "Outdoors in the big wide world."
Iris noted that the optimism had returned to his voice, she smiled at the thought of Cody living from his tent knowing that this life was a perfect fit for him.
She couldn't help but think that it would be pretty perfect for her as well.
After they had eaten the fish Iris headed over to the tent, unzipping the front part she climbed inside.
Although the tent was small it was cozy and as she lay back on his makeshift bed she closed her eyes to hear the sounds of the ocean lapping the shore.
Cody climbed in and lay beside her, she turned and laid her head on his chest and allowed him to hold her as they both lay silently listening to the sounds of the beach.
As she listened the sound of Cody's heartbeat, thumping against his chest, echoed in her ear as her own heart sank to the pit of her stomach.
She was in love with Cody and her heart was beating a loud drum pleading with her to ask him to stay, but her head was instructing her to let him go.
She nestled closer to him willing the tears to stay behind her eyes but they fell betraying her feelings and spilled across his chest.
Cody drew her face to his and kissed her, "I love you Iris Traytor." He said stroking her hair.
Iris sat up and pulled the zip to the tent closed, turning to face him once more she said "If all we have left is a week then i don't want to waste any of it. I want us to be together, really together."
Cody looked at her uncertainly, he wanted to be sure he understood her request. Iris smiled at him before he pulled her down on top of him.
Ivy preened herself in the mirror, only this time she was not practising lines or exercising her facial muscles.
This time she was considering her predicament.
She thought of the week earlier when she had asked her sister to contemplate that her new boyfriend would want more than to hold her hand.
Ivy knew for a fact that boys wanted more, at least she knew that Bobby did.
Stepping back from the mirror she recalled his words earlier that week.
"C'mon Ivy, we've been together almost seven years! You know i love you and i want to marry you, i don't see what the big deal about waiting is."
She guessed he had a point, she knew Bobby loved her but they had waited all this time what difference would another year make?
In a years time they would both graduate and Bobby would ask her to marry him and of course she would say yes.
A glittering career would follow leading to certain super stardom, Ivy saw it all so clearly. She would be the wholesome girl next door adored for her clean cut image.
How would it look if people knew she had not waited until her wedding night to have sex for the first time?
But she didn't want Bobby to dump her either, marrying her school yard sweetheart was the icing on her wholesome image, if he left her in favour of one of the more accommodating girls at school she could kiss her future persona goodbye.
She sighed, it was all arranged, Bobby's Mom was out of town that night all she had to do was sneak out and pay him a visit.
Straitening down her top she took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly. As long as no one found out about it she could paint whatever picture she wanted to her fans, it had worked for Britney Spears, until Justin dumped her anyway.
Shuddering at the thought she strengthened her resolve and headed for the balcony, she figured if her parents hadn't wanted her to sneak out then they wouldn't have made the drainpipe so easily accessible.