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“I might just kiss… you.” His words come out haltingly.

Ashley shrugs. “Whatever dude, it’s just a kiss.” English people confused her. No, wait, that wasn’t right.

People confused her.

And kissing was gross. Why did every guy she meet want to stick his tongue in her mouth? Yuck. She didn’t know where he’d put that tongue, and some guys slobbered more than some abnormals her mom cared for.

He’s talking again. Ashley scrunches up her nose, her brows furrowing. Hooking a thumb over her shoulder she says, “Yeah, I’ve gotta go…”

“Of course. Maybe I’ll see you again?”


“Ashley!” Mom. She hasn’t been so glad to hear her voice in her life.

“Coming, mom!” she calls. Shrugging again, she leaves Mouth Breather Guy and escapes to the relatively safe company of her mother.

“Making friends?” she asks as they get in the car. Her voice is all soft and trying not to be nosy but still super interested, making Ashley scoff.

“Ugh, no. Guys are gross."

"You sound quite sure of yourself.” It’s said with a smile, and warm like tea, so Ashley knows it’s not an argument she’s looking for. And normally Ashley would let it lie but something about whatever his name was, and really every guy before him, bugs her.

“None of them have ever made me go all whooshy like in all those romance books Starla reads.”


Ashley shrugs. “You know, their eyes meet across a room, they keep bumping into each other, the girl keeps playing with her hair and praying the guy doesn’t notice she’s blushing. How does she know she’s blushing that much, Mom? Has she got headlights for cheeks?” She laughs, and Ashley smiles at the sound. “Whatever. They all have this moment where the guy kisses the girl and she has this awesome moment of everything being perfect and I’m just there like… Boo!”

There’s traffic, so her mother can’t look at her, but her brow crinkles. “Boo?”

“Like, boo, it doesn’t work that way. No guy is that awesome.”

They’re quiet for a while, saying nothing as they watch the city passing them by. It’s nice, and Ashley suddenly realised she’s missed this. They’d been chasing abnormals so much that they hadn’t just relaxed around each other.

Be daughter and mother rather than whatever it is they were.

And a weird uncertainty passes through her. “It might happen to me one day, right?” They’ve arrived at the London Sanctuary by now, her mother parking the car in the underground parking lot. “That whooshy feeling?”

Looking over at her mother, Ashley’s glad when she stops the car and kills the engine because she’s facing her again after miles of looking forward. “Ashley, darling, that whooshing sensation will happen to you the moment you least expect it.” Her hand’s warm on hers, she’s smiling, and everything starts feeling normal again.

Ashley can even stomach the idea of feeding the slobbering wünderbun that afternoon.