Aah! So this got longer than I originally thought it would be. If you know me personally, you'd know that I've been obsessing over the ending of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I have so many questions regarding the characters, especially Kent! I asked Lauren Oliver about this and she said she kept the ending the way for the readers to interpret it themselves. My first thought was, "OH YEAH FANFIC!"
So this is a fanfic from Kent's POV on the last day Sam dies. I tried.
I had a puppy back in second grade. A Golden retriever. I named him Samson. Well, Sam named him Samson. I wanted to name him Skywalker, but Sam was persistent and insisted that I named the dog after him. I remember the two of us arguing that Samantha was a girl's name and that my dog was male. Sam suggested we call him Sam The Second which I thought was too long. I threw Skywalker around hoping Sam would realize that it was actually a cool name and finally agree. In the end, I shouted at her and told her that it was my dog and why should she get to name him?! She stormed off the house after that. We didn't speak for a day and my puppy remained nameless. It felt wrong to call him Skywalker. I called him 'boy.' My mom, who was always so fond of Sam for reasons unknown because she wasn't technically the nicest little girl, sensed that there was something wrong with the two of us. Normally, either I would be over at her house or she over at ours. So she called Sam's mom.
The next day, while I was playing with 'boy' in our front yard, I saw her mom almost half-dragging Sam towards our house. She waved at me when she saw me. Sam's mom, that is. I wanted to run up to my room but I remember feeling happy to finally see Sam, even if it had only been 24 hours. 'Boy' ran up to her and ran around her in circles. She laughed and twirled with him. I felt jealous so I called him back to me. It made Sam frown.
Her mom nudged her towards me and whispered something I could not hear.
"I'm sorry I tried to name your dog Sam even if it was a girl's name, or naming him Sam The Second because that was long. You can call him Cloudwalker."
As if I needed her permission to name my own dog.
"Or maybe if you still want Sam, you can call him Samson." Her mother raised an eyebrow at her. "Samson is a boy's name."
I thought it was a brilliant name. My dog answered to it immediately.
Samson had been with me for only 2 weeks when it happened. The three of us, Sam, Samson and me, were playing fetch in our front yard when Sam accidentally threw the ball towards the street. Naturally, Samson ran after it. We didn't see the car coming. I saw it too late. Samson was already in the middle of the street.
I ran after him but Sam stopped me. She pulled me towards her and turned my face to hers.
The last sound I heard was a faint wail of a dog. My dog.
I got mad at Sam. Why did she stop me? I could have saved Samson!
"The car was so near! And I didn't want you to see his insides splatter on the street!" That was why she turned my face to hers. "I saw it once on TV. It was gross."
Now, the girl who stopped me from saving my dog, stopped me from seeing what could have been a disturbing scene for second grader, the same one, she ran across the street in the middle of traffic.
I saw her talking to Juliet from a distance but we were still so far to hear what they were talking about. What were they doing on the side of a highway? Ally, Elody and I run towards them but it proved to be a hard task. The land beneath kept sucking us down. The rain almost caused zero visibility. But I had to reach her. What did she mean she didn't have much time? It made me nervous. Was she going to do something .. was she going to kill herself? What did she mean when she said she had to help someone? Could it possibly be Juliet?
I hear the two girls with me shouting Sam's name but she doesn't turn around. She has her back on us and she's still talking to Juliet.
And then the most surprising thing happens. Juliet suddenly sprints towards the highway, towards the incoming traffic.
Sam follows her.
I feel my throat hurt and I realize that I had been shouting too.
I have a gut feeling about what it is she needed to do.
The three of us finally reach the spot where Juliet and Sam was standing on just 30 seconds ago. I didn't miss a beat and run after Sam.
But I'm too late. The sound of tires braking against the wet pavement is deafening. Broken glass is flying everywhere. The screams of Ally and Elody behind me suddenly stop. The whole world stops. And I just stand there. Juliet is standing a few meters in front of me. In the middle of us is Sam, lying on the ground.
There's no Sam to pull me back, to turn me around to avoid seeing what I had just witnessed. No Sam to hug me and tell me it's okay, you can get a new dog and you're going to name him Samson Junior.
There was also no Sam for Sam. No one had pulled her back, no one had stopped her. It should have been me. I could have done the same for her. But I have a feeling that even if I did, she wouldn't have let me stop her.
"I don't have much time."
"I – I have to help someone."
Her words echo around me. She didn't have much time. She had to help Juliet. She had to save Juliet. Juliet planned to kill herself. It's suddenly becoming clear to me now. She knew something was going to happen tonight. Everything she did today revolved around the fact that she knew today was her last day. She chose her last day to be with me, to kiss me, to save Juliet.
The pinch in my heart brings me back to reality.
Juliet is hunched over Sam. She's still alive. I see her mouth moving. I run towards her and kneel beside her. "Sam!" I can feel the heat of my tears against my face even though the rain dropping is freezing. I kneel beside her at the same time Ally and Elody drops next to me. Her eyes are slightly open. She's still breathing. Come on, Sam, don't go. Not now. Not soon.
I see her eyes look right into mine and I swear I can see the sides of her mouth curl upwards a little. If you didn't look hard enough, you won't see it. But I did. I wrap my arms around her, crying, pleading her to stay strong, that an ambulance is coming, that she'll be fine if she holds on for a little longer. I'm rocking her in my arms, as if doing so will keep her alive for a while. I kiss her head and I taste blood. I sob even more. Please, Sam, stay. I will do anything to make you stay. If you want me to leave you forever, I will. Just please. Stay.
I hear the collective sobs of the girls around me. I hear the sound of an ambulance siren from a distance. I hear the curses of one of the truck drivers. I hear the pitter patter of the rain against the pavement. I hear Sam take a deep breath. Followed by nothing. It's over. She stops breathing against me and her eyes remain half closed. She's gone.
"She's gone." Juliet's voice cracks as she says what I'm too afraid to say out loud.
Ally and Elody cries even louder. One of them screams Sam's name. I pull away from Sam and stare at her face. She doesn't look dead. She looks peaceful, like she's finally gone to sleep after a long and exhausting day. I place a kiss on her cheek and whisper goodbye before someone pulls me up and drags me away from her. But I keep my eyes on Sam, even as someone drapes a towel around me. I see the paramedics transfer her to a stretcher and bring her inside an ambulance. I watch as they try to revive her. The line stays flat. I almost want to shout "Is that the best you can do?!" but I know that it probably is.
As I sit in the back of an ambulance with the Ally, Elody, Juliet and a few paramedics checking our vital signs, I think about how unfair it all is. Sam, who had her whole life ahead of her, who, less than an hour ago, was just in my car with me, kissing me, who had just saved someone who wanted to kill herself, is dead. Just like that. She didn't deserve to die. Nobody deserved to die the way she did. I think about how little the two of us were given. Like the heavens had taunted me. Oh, here's someone you've been pining over for years and years. Wait, let us just take her back. I clench my fists and I feel my eyes tearing up. The paramedic tells me to relax.
But I remember how, in her last few seconds, Sam manages to smile, as if saying that it's okay, as if she's been waiting for this. As if saying that she's going to be okay and that we should all be okay with that too. And maybe it's going to be okay. Someday. Down the road. But for now, I allow myself to feel the pain. And it goddamn hurts like hell.