Throughout history, gorgeously Gothic ravens received a bad rap. From Middle Eastern, Norse and Celtic mythology to Egar Allan Poe’s dramatic poem, their dark allure sends a shiver running through us with ease. They’ve been depicted as oracles, tricksters, and messengers of ill omens. What power, exactly, does Bran need to harness from his glossy namesakes? Regeneration perhaps or something a little more sinister?
“And being called Bran, how did that come about?”
“Nate, in high school.”
“Do you know about the Celtic legends? About Bran the Blessed, the Raven? God of regeneration etcetera?”
“Nate’s brought it up over the years. Usually, when he wants to be a pain.”
Beth ignored the warning. “And your mum is the only person who doesn’t call you Bran?”
Staring stonily at Beth, he gave her a barely discernible nod.
“Middle name?” she asked, allowing no quarter.
“Henrik,” he said flatly.
“Henrik? Alexander Henrik Brantsen.” Beth laughed loudly.
“Shit, you even know my last name?” He gave her a look of mock suspicion, trying for levity but not quite managing it.
“I aim to know a lot more about you, Bran. So, where are your parents from?”
His eyes skated over to Ava’s then back to Beth’s. He sighed and crossed his arms over his chest, all signs of playfulness gone. “The Netherlands.”
Dix’s wife, Beth, interrogating Bran at Izzy’s party.
…and it’s going to be an interesting celebration for Bran and Ava.
Over the last hour, she’d taken great care to alternate between inside the house and the garden, always in direct opposition to his location. And thank God, he was nowhere in sight now. On a spark of excitement, she twirled around like a nine-year-old brimming over with light. When she came to a halt, there was the rotter himself standing right in front of her, beaming away. And what a nice picture he made. She could call it, ‘My Own Personal Catastrophe – Holding Two Margaritas’.
Ava, avoiding Bran unsuccessfully, at Izzy’s New Year’s Eve party, Siren’s Wave.
A lemony coconut scent mixed with something earthy assailed her senses, and she wondered if it was aftershave or deodorant. Either way, it made her limbs feel heavy.
Arm engulfed in heat, she looked down at his hand still wrapped around it and tried to draw his attention to the inappropriate holding thing by narrowing her eyes at him.
It must have sent a different signal because without breaking eye contact, he stepped closer and moved his thumb slowly over her skin, pressing his fingers into her muscle like he was … was …
Ava, bamboozled by Bran who’s busy bamboozling himself.
Bran’s eyes flicked up from the plate of fast disappearing fish and chips in a flash of guilt. Relieved, he watched Ava flap her hands at the seagull who was taking off with one of her chips. She sure liked her salt. She practically crumbed her food in the stuff. Laughing along with the others as she wiped her hands in irritation, he wondered what he had to feel guilty about. Oh yeah, probably the sleazy way he’d scoped her out at the beach, that might be it.
They sat at bench seats pulled up to a wooden table on the deck of the pub. It was some view. The breakers cruised into the sand in a rhythm he could set lyrics to. Sparkling-green hills. Darkening shadows. Girls with luscious asses. What? Bran shook his head to clear the unwelcome image of Ava in her bathers, swallowed a too greedy mouthful of food and chased it down with a gulp of beer.
Bran and the Silva boys at the Rookery Nook – Wye River Hotel, Siren’s Wave Novel.
“Hey, that seagull likes you, Ava,” said Ben, eye-fucking her like a great jerk. “He’s coming back for more.”
“Yes, I’m sure he does. I think you’ll find, Benjamin, that I’m a great favourite with creatures of the web-footed variety.”
Bran felt himself smiling a stupid grin at her and for some reason looked down to inspect his own feet.
Before he could wrest a clever comment from his slow firing brain, which had been lulled witless by his senseless contemplation of Ava over dinner, he was annoyed to hear Ben say, “Oh, is that why I like you so much? I knew we were meant for each other.”
Dan shot a funny expression at Bran, a one eyebrow raised, what-are-ya-gonna-do-about-that kind of face. Bran did somehow feel put out. The fuck if he knew why though.
She shook sand off her towel in aggressive flicks and was pleased to see him flinch. “Don’t gawk like fools! It’s actually quite normal for a girl to have some meat on her bones, you know.”
With wide eyes and a raised brow, Bran immediately set about gathering his things. The others seemed to decide her comment was a joke and milled there chuckling up at her face and then down at the sand, up and down their eyes went until she shocked them out of their stupor.
“We’re hitting the pub up the road for dinner as soon as Dan and Dave arrive. We’re going straight from here, so if you lot are happy to sit there all night with barnacles attached to you then by all means do so.”
An hour later, they were heading to the multi-level car park situated on the same city street as the studio. Melbourne was an interesting mix of old world buildings, modern skyscrapers, and graffiti ridden laneways chock filled with eclectic cafes. They’d be perfect to kick back in and drink strong coffee or get loaded up and people-watch. He sensed an energy pulsing up through the concrete and a thrumming in the air. A creative buzz, just waiting to be hooked into. He liked the place already.
– Bran from Siren’s Wave, getting into Melbourne’s laneways.
So awesome that it inspires orgasmic feels and maybe a little trash talk in Siren’s Wave, a novel by J.A. Hazel…
It was like being out in the ocean on his board, bobbing and floating in the otherworldly palette of water and sky. With the music turned up to the max and heard through the control room speakers, perfectly stoned and vibrating into the shimmering sound, Bran was about as happy as he could ever wish to be.
-Bran, blissing out in the studio to the Band of Horses’ sweeping, soaring track, The Funeral.
And after the intoxicating song finishes -it all goes downhill…
Despite the mellow buzz he’d been enjoying before Ava’s arrival, the same intense feeling from the rink burnt hot in his chest. He’d planned to drag himself up, grab his guitar, and play something to cool it, but instead, he spoke. “Why don’t you just shut up, Ava. You’re a real fucking drag. Do you even know you’re a bore? Or maybe you just see ‘uptight shrew’ as part of your job description?”
– Bran enraged by the mere presence of poor Ava. Well, she may have been nagging just a little…