The smell always hits me first.
I noticed it right when I opened the office door, and I paused. It was a lemony smell, like walking through a citrus grove. Growing up in New Jersey, I didn't know much about citrus groves, but I was sure that's what it would smell like. Every time I smelled the lemons, I knew death was in the air.
Mr. Harris looked up and gave me a smile over his dark brown glasses. I made eye-contact with his forehead, a survival technique I mastered years ago. The aroma rolled off him in waves, overpowering the scent of his black leather chair. "Ms.—" he glanced down at my resume on the mahogany desk. "Lockwood. Please come in."
I swallowed and stepped inside, the wooden door behind me closing with a swish. Just don't look into his eyes. My palms felt sweaty, and I was glad I wore a black blazer over my white button-up shirt. Clutching my spiral notebook to my chest, I sat in the chair across from him. My eyes dropped to my polished black heels. I spent a lot of my time studying shoes. Looking at the ground was safer than looking at faces.
"Thank you for showing interest in our internship position, Ms. Lockwood." Mr. Harris's voice was kind, and I knew he thought I was nervous. Little did he know that if I met his eyes, I would See his death. Lucky me. "I notice from your resume that you write the sports column at your high school. You go to Lacey Township High?"
I gave a nod. "That's right." How could I escape this? There was no point in continuing. My interest in the internship position at Lacey Patch, the online news column for Lacey Township, had vanished. I examined his desk, determined to avoid eye contact. My gaze landed on a picture of Stephen, wearing his navy blue and white lacrosse jersey. My stomach plummeted even further. Harris. I'd forgotten about his promotion to editor-in-chief. I clenched my fingers. Great. Not only was a vision of this man's death taunting me just out of eye contact, but he was the father of my ex.