The moment that I walked into the kitchen I knew to be suspicious. I internally grimaced at the sight of Amanda's Cheshire Cat grin. It's that smile mothers reserve for a surprise they've thought up. Nobody should look that happy-especially not Amanda on the day where she's been on the phone to her mother for half an hour because I can't get past her 'I only brought you make-up and perfume because you never wear it and are too old for that silly tomboy stage', let alone try to explain gender identities without wanting to scream.

"What is it?" I said, eyeing her and the empty oven. No sign of a home-baked cake. "If you lot are going to sing an out of tune happy birthday can I go get my earphones first?"
Amanda's grin only broadened, colourful earrings jangling as she shook her head.

"This way Taylor," she seemed to be practically bouncing with excitement, and I had to admit it was infectious. 

I followed her into the lounge, where Matt jerked around his head soon enough to confirm he had been waiting for us, quickly flicking off the episode of Cash in the attic that he'd obviously not been watching. Again came that creepy parent grin.

"Seriously what is going-"I stared down at the plain white box that had been produced from behind the sofa. "No way."

Taking hold of the box, my fingers crept across to the corners before I tentatively lifted the lid. My own lips were involuntarily quirking upwards. Finally, after all the hints I'd been dropping about not having enough space on my ancient iPod nano. There it was, the glistening black screen so aesthetically pleasing that I didn't want to place a single finger upon it. For a moment I just looked down at it until I realised that I had to get it out of the box at some point. Clutching the device, I slowly turned in my hands to see how much bigger the space was.

"Wait, this is a...iPhone?" My initial pleasure turned into complete shock and I glanced across from Amanda to Matt, "But they're way more expensive-you shouldn't have spend this much, I mean, I don't even need a phone."

"It's an early Christmas present as well as birthday present, and the whole family chipped in a bit. We convinced them all it was more worthwhile than your...usual gifts," Matt said, "and seeing as though you had your heart set on an iPod and Amanda thought you could have a phone now, we thought we might as well get you something with both."

"I felt now you were sixteen you could do with a phone, especially now you're meeting up with your friends. I know you say you can use email to contact them, but that's no use when you're out and about."

Their words warmed me, soothing the earlier shock. Sure, I was only about six years late in getting a phone, but that was because I had someone to contact, someone who my parents could trust to have my number. Lily and Doug. Actual friends.

"I guess," I murmured, still getting used to the monumental and ridiculously expensive device that I held. "So is this now the part where I dash off to my room and you don't see me for an hour or so whilst I copy across my music?"

"Go on, just remember we're going out to Pizza Hut at four."

Torn between wanting to take the stairs two at a time and not drop the iPhone, I ended up going upstairs in a sort of rushed jog before hurtling onto my bed. Gently placing the device to rest upon Rose Tyler's face, I rooted around beneath my bed for my laptop.

As it powered up on my knees, I reached across and slipped my fingers around the cool metal case once again. Hesitantly I pulled back the plastic cover, whilst turning it on.
Having begun to compile a playlist of music to copy across whilst the device configured itself, I glanced back across at the phone screen. With it all set up, I tapped onto the contact icon and entered in Lily's number. As soon as the digits were entered, I typed out a message to her: 'It's Taylor- guess who's also sold their soul to Apple? Got an iPhone now too!!'

Too impatient to watch the sending bar crawl across, I switched back to my laptop. As I scrolled through my music library, I spotted the open email tab that had been forgotten about, the rather large amount of unread mail catching my attention. I'd only checked my mail the previous evening.

There was a message from Angie reminding me I had my birthday off  and wishing me a good day from her and Ramona, one from the Damien Rice mailing list about his new album and several from some address I'd never heard of before.

My gaze flickered down, barely registering the email title as my heart plummeted like a rock smashing into the bottom of a well. The words blurred as my vision shook with my fingers that were unable to resist opening the message.

'I know ur secret Tranny Taylor. '
As though disconnected from my consciousness, I watched as the message vanished with another click. My mind was still trying to register it all, those few words unearthing memories I thought I'd moved on from.

Things had been getting better. I couldn't lose it now.

Proof of this came with the sudden ping of a message, the sight of her name simultaneously uplifting and crushing.

Lily: OMG that's awesome! 😆

Unable to even look at the other message titles, through my hazy vision the cursor scrolled down and cleared the remaining messages. Still my heart was a sledgehammer against my chest. I glanced back at Lily's message and slowly exhaled.
Nobody could find out that it was happening again.

A/N: Apologies for the long wait! I did put this on hold for NaNoWriMo but that all went to pot and having re-read this/ seen some things on the internet I realised why it was that I wanted to write this story in the first place and made myself get writing again. Also the recent love has been very motivating, thank you so much for the votes/comments and follows over the past few weeks ^_^
In terms of my NaNoWriMo idea, I'm still working on it, and it should come out in late December or the New Year, though I'd like to try and finish this first.

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