3 YEARS LATER.............
"Iris it's time." Ivy said softly, poking her head around the bedroom door.
"I'm almost ready." She replied.
Iris looked at her reflection in the mirror and sighed. She wasn't ready not nearly ready at all for the task ahead but everyone had agreed that it was for the best that today went ahead.
That it was the right thing to do.
So why did every fibre of her being tell her that it was wrong?
Why did she feel so guilty for partaking in this day?
"Denial." That was what her therapist had called it, she was probably right, Iris was in denial. Denial over Cody and his whereabouts.
"Hero." That was another word she had heard too often since that day. Everyone said that Cody was a hero for rescuing Josh the way he had, if he hadn't of swam into the riptide and pushed Josh out of its grasp then it would have been Josh who had been carried out to sea by it's uncompromising might.
Instead it was Cody.
Maybe he had been heroic or maybe he had just done what any parent would have done seeing their child in danger, whatever he had been that day one thing was certain, Cody had never been found.
No body washed up on shore and no trace of him since.
"Missing presumed dead." was the official coroners verdict which had lead to today and this sham funeral that Ivy had arranged.
It was the best way to heal grief apparently to bury a body, but what healing could be done when there was no body to inter? Then what comfort did it provide?
In truth the only denial that Iris was in was that Cody was in some watery grave. She knew that he would not leave her without a fight, she knew he was out there somewhere trying to get back home.
But she was alone in that thought.
As Iris stared at the empty urn she tried to feign closure as best she could if for nothing other than the benefit of Joshua.
Josh had been badly affected by his father's disappearance, he felt the weight of blame for what had happened.
If only he hadn't been so upset by what he had seen, if only he hadn't grabbed that surf board, if only he hadn't paddled so far out.
There were so many "if only's", too many for his young mind to come to terms with.
When he had finally been ready to talk and had reluctantly relayed the details of his actions to Iris she had struggled to keep the anger from registering across her face.
She wasn't mad at Josh, far from it, but she was seething that Alex had been somehow involved in what had transpired.
The day she had dared to come to the house to speak to Iris she had unleashed the full force of her anger upon her.
"How dare you come here!" She yelled, "You have no right to intrude on our grief!"
But as she looked into Alex's eyes and saw the tears falling freely she realised that if anyone could understand how totally bereft she felt over the loss of Cody it was Alex.
She was the only person who could truly get what devastation Iris was experiencing.
After an emotional and frank heart to heart the two woman made an uneasy truce and over time had become friends.
In truth Iris didn't know how she would have gotten through the dark days following his disappearance without Alex's help. She had stepped in to run the bar and had helped out wherever she could at the house, Ivy was many things but a good cook was not one of them!
Joshua on the other hand hated Alex with a passion, although his Mom had explained that Daddy and Alex were friends and had been saying goodbye he still did not believe it, he had seen how she looked at his Dad and now she was lying to his Mom.
But even Josh had to relent on the day that Iris went into labour. The poor boy had nearly jumped out of his skin in pure terror at the sight of his mother doubled over in pain, he had immediately dialled Alex who had rushed Iris to hospital.
Although Iris was an old hand at giving birth now she was thankful of the extra pair of hands that Alex provided which came in very handy when they had to take home the two new additions to the Traytor family.
Lilah was born first closely followed by her twin sister Lexie.
Iris watched as Joshua approached the mock graveside, she had only relented and allowed this charade for him, if he was ever going to get past what happened and forgive himself he needed closure, not the endless wait for news of Cody.
She smiled softly at him but she knew he would register the pain which lay beneath it.
Looking at the urn with wide eyes he stepped forward and unsure of his actions looked to Iris for guidance.
"It's OK honey, just say whatever you want your Dad to know." She prompted
"But he can't hear me." Josh replied.
"Say it anyway." She encouraged.
Josh looked at her with resolve, she read between the lines and determined that he wanted this moment alone.
Following the service Iris and the kids returned home. After putting the twins to bed and making Josh and Kaya some supper Iris stood on the balcony and watched as the sun set.
She often came out here to stare at the ocean, a sight which used to fill her with joy at the sheer beauty of it's vastness.
Now all she could see was the void empty and cold water which had swallowed the man she loved.
The most difficult part of losing Cody wasn't the loss of a companion who shared her troubles but the husband who stood at her side through all the good times, and there were so many good times that he had missed.
From Ivy's second wedding, to Maxwell.
This time around she opted for a simple affair in the beloved Traytor family garden.
No paparazzi, no C list celebrities and no Simstyle cover story.
None of those things seemed important this time around as Ivy knew she had finally married her soul mate.
To Kaya's formative years.
She was nothing like her older brother, Kaya had loved being taught to speak, hanging on Iris's every word.
Potty training was a breeze.
As was learning to walk.
But the special bond that grew between Kaya and Josh was the most touching thing to come out of Cody's loss. It was as though he knew that his sister would need a male role model in her life and one day decided that he wanted the job.
He would spend hours sitting with Kaya and playing with her, gone were the days of solitude it seemed that Kaya had broken him of that habit.
But by far the most difficult moments to endure alone were the children's birthdays.
Lilah and Lexie grew into toddlers without ever meeting their father.
Iris took some comfort from believing that they couldn't miss what they had never known.
Kaya could remember little of her father but when she came to blow out the candles on her birthday cake she asked if she could "save a piece for Dadda" That one sentence almost broke Iris's heart.
She hoped that now Kaya was beginning school she would make friends who could help her through her childhood years, but as she grew she developed the mean spirited trait.
From that day forward her little Cody doppelganger changed from a sweet little girl to a temperamental little madam, who would constantly challenge Iris's authority and tease her little sisters.
It seemed the only family member to escape her wrath was Josh who was still her best friend.
Joshua was still the greatest source of worry to Iris.
Cody's loss having hit him hardest, as he had the most memories of the happy times spent with his Dad that the other children did not.
She didn't have to worry about his school performance though as Josh was a studious boy who never needed chiding into doing his homework.
But, before long, Josh would become a teenager and this was the birthday party that Iris feared the most.
Teenage years were notoriously difficult as a child makes the transition from Grade to High school and with Josh's trouble making friends and his hang ups about his father plaguing him, Iris worried that he would slip even further into depression.
Now that the twins were toddlers they were eligible to start pre-school which meant Iris could start back at the bar. Alex had agreed to continue to run it on an evening with Iris taking the day shifts.
She turned up that morning to find a man behind the bar.
"Leon! Do we need to go over the bar rules again? Employees only behind the bar, customers at the front." She chided jokingly.
"Just admiring your photography again." Leon replied smiling, "I know I've said it before but Iris these are really good, you are an excellent photographer."
"And i know I've told you before that I'm not a photographer anymore, i just run a bar." She said raising her eyebrows at his persistence.
"Ah but if you would take me up on my offer you could pick up your camera again, I'm sure you haven't lost any of your skill." He said, attempting to be charming.
"Leon i told you I'm not interested, besides i don't shoot portraits i prefer the great outdoors to people."
Leon chuckled, "What?" Iris protested, "At least nature sits still long enough for you to get the shot."
"You've been snapping shots of your kids for years. Come on, the pay is good." He pleaded.
Leon Joyce was a world renowned explorer, he had raided every tomb from Al Simhara to Shang Simla and boasted an unrivaled private collection of artifacts.
The National Geographic had been trying to get an exclusive photo spread from inside said home for many years and were close to brokering the deal.
But Leon was careful about who he let inside his home, his collection was so valuable that it already needed round the clock surveillance and he didn't trust the photographer from the magazine to keep the exact address a secret.
He had insisted on having the shots taken by his own photographer and he only wanted Iris.
"Exactly how good does this job pay?" Iris asked, hating that he had discovered her Achilles heel.
Business at the bar had dried up following Cody's disappearance, the parents too worried to allow their children in the sea and the bar patrons put off by the depressing ambiance that filled the once vibrant beach hangout.
She had considered closing the bar down, but seeing that sign hanging which read, "Cody's Place" always stopped her.
She had built this bar for Cody and she intended for it to be there when he returned.
With a fee of 25,000 simoleans on offer, Iris could not refuse Leon's request any longer and she agreed to take some test shots the following day.
As she looked around his palatial abode she noted artifacts from China, Egypt and Rome on display.
She could only imagine the sights that Leon had seen in his life and a small wave of envy passed through her. Iris remembered a time when she had vowed to see the world before settling down but she had only one stamp in her passport from the family vacation to Champs Le Sims.
As she admired a stunning picture of the sun setting behind the great pyramid her eye was drawn first to a intricate Chinese vase and then to a family photograph which sat oddly out of place among the relics.
As she examined it further she narrowed her eyes trying to be sure they were focused correctly.
At first she doubted what her eyes were telling her but after a second inspection she knew they had told her the truth.
There in the photograph was Cody standing happily next to a red haired girl who was looking so adoringly up at him that it made Iris's stomach lurch.
"What is this doing here!" She cried.
"Oh, my maid she always mixes things up. This is just a family photo, my sister and her fiance." He replied dismissively before grabbing the picture from the table.
Iris snatched it back immediately on impulse, "This is my husband!" She yelled pointing to Cody.
"Iris you must be mistaken, this is my sister's fiance Luke. She sent me this photo last year with a letter telling me about their engagement." He explained carefully.
"I don't care what her letter said! I'm telling you that this is Cody, now you tell me where he is!" She demanded angrily.
"Iris please calm down, I'm sure this is just a misunderstanding." Leon replied, taken aback by the ferocity of her tirade.
"This is no misunderstanding Leon, now tell me where he is." She said through gritted teeth.
"My sister lives in Riverview, we can call her if you like but it's the middle of the night there." he stammered unsure of the right course of action in this unusual situation.
"Just give me her address." Iris demanded.
Seeing the doubt cross Leon's face she changed tack, "Please Leon. My husband has been missing for three years but believe me when i tell you that this is him." She angled the photo towards him, "You see these eyes, my daughters have these same eyes. I look at them everyday and i see their father, i know I'm right."
Leon sighed. He had frequented Cody's Place long enough to know Iris's tragic story and he feared that she had finally allowed the grief to cloud her mind, but he also had come to know that she was a genuine Sim who never let an untrue word pass her lips.
He obligingly wrote down the address for her before she turned and fled from his house.
Iris dashed from Leon's house and without a second thought went straight to the airport and booked herself on the next flight to Riverview.
She spent the flight staring impatiently out of the window wishing that the pilot would go at twice the speed anything just to hurry up her reunion with Cody.
Running purely on adrenalin, Iris took a cab from the airport directly to the address that Leon had written down.
The house was a modest two bedroom in a leafy suburban area of the town, a perfect family home.
As she regarded the house and tried to figure out what she would say to Leon's sister she heard the sounds of laughter coming from the side of the house.
As she rounded the corner she stopped stock still as she caught her first glimpse of Cody in over three years.
He was sharing a private joke with the girl from the picture, they seemed so happy and relaxed in each others company.
Iris however, was blind to this, all she saw was Cody. Her Cody.
She stumbled forward, attracting the girls attention.
"Oh, hello." She said walking towards Iris, "Can i help you?"
Ignoring the woman completely Iris walked right on by, it was as though she was in a trance being drawn directly to Cody.
She saw his face look towards her, his eyes staring into hers and without thought she opened her arms to embrace him.