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.”
Well, maybe not so perilous nowadays, but back in the 1930’s it was a single lane death trap, hugging the Surf Coast’s sheer cliffs with only a few places where drivers could pull over to allow other cars to pass. Yikes – you wouldn’t want to back up your Y model Ford around this in the dark.
Victoria’s 151-mile-long winding coastal road, built with the blood, sweat and tears of 3,000 returned WWI soldiers between 1919 and 1932 at a rate of about 1.86 miles a month. Pretty good going considering they got the job done with not much more than their bare hands, explosives, pick n shovels and wheelbarrows.
“It’s a memorial to the returned World War I soldiers, the poor buggers who built this road. Can you imagine the extreme toil? But we love it because it means we’ve commenced the woohoo part of the journey. It’s gorgeous, just wait. You often get whales cruising out there around September. Waves cresting. Birds wafting. It’s camping with mates. Summer. Azure skies. The forest. This road brings all the best things, you’ll see.”
– Ava, waxing lyrical to the Silva boys on the joys of the road and its wild ocean and forest surrounds, Siren’s Wave novel by J.A. Hazel.