That's how long Roxanna has been dating David Hopkins for now, and she thinks he might just be the one. Okay, maybe it's too soon to know – she thought her first girlfriend when she was 14 was 'the one' too, and that didn't work out at all – but she's never felt this sort of joy around somebody before. Her heart flutters whenever he's around, and there was a special sort of magic to their first kiss there'd never been with anyone else.
It's all perfect.
Except for one thing.
She doesn't know how to tell him about who she is: about how her womanhood is self-made, not something she had the luck of being given at birth.
They haven't gone any further than kissing yet for this reason, and David has been cool about it whenever she's turned down his advances for something more, but Roxanna knows there's only so long she can say 'I'm not ready' without making him start to wonder if she doesn't like him. She thinks she's already stretching that limit.
It's not that she has any reason to be scared of telling him, not really. He's shown himself to be a very open-minded man already (just last week a boy in class had made a snide comment about gay people "bringing AIDS upon themselves", and David had nearly gotten kicked out for arguing with him), but…
Even if she knows the most nightmarish scenarios aren't going to happen, what if he still takes it badly? He might very well just break up with her. He might tell someone else, and then the truth might spread around the school, and then she'd be completely fucked.
She doesn't want to lose him. She doesn't want that at all.
But if they were to have a long-lasting relationship, she'd have to tell him at some point. There's no escaping that fact. The only way to get out of having to tell him eventually would be to deliberately break up with him, and she couldn't bring herself to do that.
It's either leave him before she has to tell him, or tell him and hope for the best.
So perhaps that's why she's here now, standing in front of the mirror, rehearsing a speech out loud, trying to decide the perfect way to word it. She has a date with David later, and today is going to be the day she tells him.
At least, if she can gather the courage.
They go to an aquarium that evening.
Roxanna almost forgets about her worries from earlier as she walks through the building, hand-in-hand with David. It's amazing, seeing all the different kinds of sea creatures in the tanks. She hasn't been to an aquarium in years, but remembers visiting one once as a kid, and it's just as impressive now.
They stop for a while to look at the seahorse tank; one of the seahorses presses its face against the enclosure curiously, right on the other side of the glass from where David is standing.
"I think it likes you," Roxanna says, nudging David's shoulder.
David waves to the seahorse and bows dramatically. "Why, thank you, Ms. Seahorse," he says, in a very posh-sounding accent, "but I'm taken."
That leads them both to break into a fit of laughter.
"You sound like Henrik!" Roxanna jokes when she's finally caught her breath.
"Oh, Henrik isn't that posh," David argues, but the smirk on his face makes it clear he knows Roxanna isn't wrong.
Roxanna spots another tank out of the corner of her eye, containing some fish that don't look like any she's ever seen in her life. "Wait – what kind of fish are those?" She takes David's hand again. "Come on, I need to find out!"
By the time an hour's gone by, they've just about looked at everything in the aquarium, and they're both growing tired from all the walking, so they leave.
Roxanna sits down on a bench outside the building, and David soon takes a seat next to her.
Okay, she thinks to herself. This is it. This is the perfect time. Tell him.
"I think I should tell you something," she says. She feels her heart speed up with anxiety.
"What is it, Rox?"
"Well – I – you know how I keep saying I'm not ready to have sex yet?"
"It's because – there's something I want you to know before we do. But I'm scared you might take it badly and break up with me or something."
David places a hand on Roxanna's knee. "There's very little you could say that would make me want to break up with you. Maybe if you'd killed someone, but I don't think that's your secret," he teases. "Whatever it is, it's gonna be okay."
Roxanna takes a deep breath. "I'm transsexual. As in, I – I was born a boy," she clarifies.
David doesn't say anything, for a minute. Roxanna fears he's upset. That he feels deceived, like the last man she tried to date did.
"That's it?" David finally says.
"Yes," Roxanna confirms. "Yeah, it is."
"Well… I can't tell you that's what I expected," David admits. "But it's not a problem to me. I love you, Roxanna MacMillan, no matter what you were born as. And for what it's worth, you're still the prettiest girl I've ever met."
Roxanna's breath hitches. It's not the first time they've said 'I love you', but it's the first time either of them have said it like that. And now, of all times. Some part of her is still in a sort of shock at the lack of rejection.
So "thank you" is all she can manage to say. She leans in close and presses a kiss to David's lips, and he kisses her back. And then, when they're done, she whispers "I love you too."