Hey, everyone. I've had this idea bubbling away for a while now and finally had some time to write it! I hope you'll enjoy. x

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its characters.

~ One ~

Describe yourself in three words.

I tap my pen against the blank job application, insecurities piling up on me like a swarm of bees.

Why do they need to know? How can I possibly break myself down into three simple words, squash myself into neat little compartments?

Adventurous. Bold. Brave.

Lie. Lie. Lie.

Boring. Bland. Nobody.

It's not easy to have a vibrant, exciting life when you live in a backwater town buried in a forest. Everyone's known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, a twinkle in my daddy's eye, and so on. Achieving any kind of mystery is impossible.

In junior year, there was a transfer. Her name was Laila, and her hair was the color of black liquorice. Of course, every boy in school was in love with her. She was from the city. Her mother was a singer. Her father a vague notion. She smoked French cigarettes behind the art building and left shades of red lipgloss as her calling card.

I was in love with her, too. It wasn't a coincidence I wore my hair with a wave, turned faded Levi's into cutoffs revealing my milky white legs to the world—emulating the exotic and failing miserably.

Then I saw a smudge of scarlet on Tyler's lips, and that was the end of that.

Laila: glamorous, sensual, loose.

I smile at that last one.

The trill of the phone is a welcome interruption.

The caller less so.

"Bella?" My father's girlfriend has a breathlessness to her voice which could be sweet but grates on my last nerve.


"Hope you don't mind me calling, but I wondered if you had plans for the summer?"

Silly question.

I don't respond immediately, and Emily's nerves spill over until she's babbling about getting to know me better—beach houses and sunshine.

"I'm not sure. I was going to get a job down at the Thriftway." I'm aware how pathetic this sounds.

The threat of rainclouds swarming outside the window makes the possibility of sun on my skin and sand in my toes all the more alluring. Not to mention the blank spaces on the job application and lack of anything interesting to fill them with.

Emily senses I'm melting and goes in for the kill. "You can do your own thing once we get there. It'd just be nice for you and your dad to see each other. We've rented a place for the whole summer. You could come for a weekend, a week, even a month. It's totally up to you. Charlie ... I mean your dad, said you love the water."

Charlie has a good memory for irrelevant details. He's forgotten about his daughter more than once.

I toy with the idea of my own space. Access to an easy escape route should I need it.

The empty summer before college stretching out in front of me and visions of my well-meaning mother hovering over my shoulder, force my hand.

"When are you leaving?"

Emily emits a squeal, causing my eyes to roll. "Next weekend. We can pick you up on the way or from the bus station. Whichever is easiest for you. Oh, your dad will be so pleased."

I hate to dampen Emily's enthusiasm, but the sigh slips out anyway. She's been banging the same drum since she waltzed into our lives, dismayed it wasn't all cookie cutter, happy families, and fairy dust. She's yet to give up on us.

We gave up a long time ago.

"I'll have a think about it and let you know."

Emily hangs up after a flurry of excited instructions, and I turn my attention back to the job application and my distinct lack of compelling attributes. But my heart's not in it. It's already lying on a secluded beach, lost in the heady mix of sea salt, sunshine, and potential.

Choc & Kim, I heart you. For so many reasons, but encouraging me to write this is way up there.

GemmaH, PatesGreeneyes and Conks. Thank you for your invaluable help/beta'ing. You're all awesome.

Thanks to the fab ladies at TLS for having Sea Salt featured as one of their Sneak Peeks.

And, finally, thank you to the lovelies over at FicSisters who are featuring this story in their Elevator Pitch (and Choc for her lovely words). You can head over there now for a sneak peek at chapter 2! Ficsisters com

See you soon! xx