Before I Fall

by

Lauren Oliver

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Before I Fall: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In tonight’s dream, Sam can hear music. The music in her dream is coming from the guidance counselor’s office at her high school. She can see the cheesy inspirational posters which hang on the wall in the office and for some reason they cause Sam’s feeling of terror to drain away. She realizes that, in all of her dreams, she hasn’t been falling—she’s been floating.
With each “reset,” Sam is growing less and less afraid of what is happening to her. By day six, she has begun to realize that there is nothing sinister at work in the loop—instead, she is being encouraged toward something, and lifted up to meet it.
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Sam is thrilled to be awakened by her alarm clock in the morning. She’s grateful for everything around her, and she comes downstairs to greet her family in an uncharacteristically good mood. Sam’s mother asks her if she wants breakfast, like she does every morning, and Sam declines, like she does every morning. Sam realizes how much she loves the small, everyday routine of her life—“the details that are [her] life’s special pattern.” So many things, she thinks, become beautiful when you just slow down and take a look.
Sam has watched a lot of pain and suffering unfold over the last several days, and now, she is so grateful for the mechanism which has been causing her days to reset themselves. It allows her to renew not just her circumstances, but also her perspective—here, she finds herself feeling grateful for things she once took for granted.
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Sam hugs her parents and kisses Izzy on the head, showing them all a measure of affection, which she knows has been rare lately. She is “filled with love” all throughout her body, love for all the small, drab details around her—she feels as if she is seeing everything for the first time. As she rushes out of the house and runs down the driveway toward Lindsay’s waiting car, she knows that today, she is going to save two lives—Juliet Sykes’s, and her own.
Sam is determined to set things right once and for all today, and she believes she knows how to do it. This gives her an increased confidence that not only will she be able to escape the loop, but that she will be able to leave things better than they started and change circumstances for everyone for the better.
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Sam hops into Lindsay’s Range Rover and greets her best friend happily. Sam thinks that Lindsay looks “clearer” to her than she ever has before—Sam sees Lindsay at last for all that she is, “mean and funny and ferocious and loyal.” When the two of them pick up Elody and Sam sees her coming down the driveway, “radiant and alive,” Sam is again overcome by happiness and bliss. Sam wishes she could express the gratitude and love she feels for her friends, but she doesn’t want to throw them off or weird them out. As they drive to school, Sam reflects on how grateful she is for her life, “screwy [and] imperfect [and] damaged” as it is.
Sam has seen Lindsay’s dark side and secrets over the last few days—she understands her best friend now not as a shining paragon of coolness and popularity, but as a messy, flawed girl who is just trying to survive high school like everybody else. Sam has come to realize that she doesn’t need to make everything perfect—it never will be—she just needs to do her best for her friends and those she cares for.
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When the girls arrive in the lower lot, Sam screams for Lindsay to brake quickly, allowing the girl from the swim team to get the parking spot. Sam doesn’t want to do anything wrong today—she wants to do good where she can. While Lindsay and Elody head to class, Sam goes off to the room where the roses are stored, planning on making some adjustments. Sam heads straight for the roses in a tray labeled “St-Ta,” looking for Juliet Sykes’s last name. Sam removes Juliet’s “maybe next year, but probably not” rose from the bin and approaches a group of Cupids in the corner of the room, telling them that she needs to purchase a lot more roses.
Sam doesn’t just want to help herself and her friends today—she wants to set things right for everyone she can. Helping classmates she’s not familiar with is just as important to her as saving Juliet Sykes. Sam isn’t distracted by the divides in popularity, or the false idea that she can only help someone who has helped her in the past—she truly wants to do a good turn towards everyone she can.
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After replacing Juliet’s one rose with a huge bouquet—and an added note which reads “from your secret admirer”—Sam leaves the rose room elated. She is sure that her benevolent move will make things right, and she imagines how Lindsay will react when she sees that Juliet Sykes has more roses than she does. 
Sam, despite her good intentions, still believes that popularity is the key to some things and hopes that by giving Juliet a symbol of status, she’ll be able to brighten her day—and maybe even her life.
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As Sam moves through the halls between classes that morning, she finds herself scanning the crowds for Kent—she has an “incredible urge” to be around him. Before calculus, when Sam knows she’ll see Kent, she ducks into a bathroom to fix her makeup. Inside, she overhears some sophomore girls talking about what a “slut” Anna Cartullo is. Sam tells the girls that they shouldn’t believe everything they hear—she warns them that most rumors start just “because somebody feels like it.” As the girls scurry out the door, Sam finds herself considering the derogatory graffiti all over the bathroom stalls—she checks under the sink for cleaning supplies, and then begins scrubbing the writing off each and every stall. Sam is full of pride and happiness as she revels in the feeling of being alive, and being capable of doing things—of doing good for once.
Sam is still a little bit self-centered, seeking out Kent because of how good he made her feel the night before. But as she seeks her own fulfillment, she finds herself—for the first time ever—getting distracted by the impulse toward goodwill and righteousness along the way. Doing the right thing is starting to become more important to Sam than seeking out her own happiness, marking a major change and renewal in her character.
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At lunch, Sam laughs with her friends, but scans the cafeteria repeatedly for signs of Kent or Juliet. Sam zones back into the conversation when Juliet’s name is mentioned—Sam knows that Ally, who has biology with Juliet, must be about to tell their group about how Juliet got a massive bouquet of roses. All of a sudden, though, hands clamp down over Sam’s eyes, and she knows from the smell of lemon balm that they are Rob’s. Rob uncovers Sam’s eyes and asks if she’s avoiding him—she tells him she isn’t, but in her head, she is preparing to break up with him.
Once again, Sam is more interested in and excited about hearing how her actions have improved the lives of others than she is in engaging in the repetitious (and, at this point, slightly annoying) moments of her own life. She wants to know that she has effected real change, and despite her goodwill, there is still a bit of self-aggrandizement at work as a motivator.
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Rob asks Sam if she got his rose—she tells him that she cut fifth period. Rob indignantly says that he didn’t get a rose from Sam. She thinks back to how she removed it earlier that morning in the rose room. Rob chastises Sam for making such a big deal out of needing to get roses on Cupid Day but not sending any to him. Rob tells Sam that she has an imperfect history of keeping promises, implying that he is frustrated by the fact they haven’t had sex yet.
Rob proves himself, in this passage, to be so concerned with his popularity and image after all that he is willing to sink to outright cruelty in front of all of Sam’s friends in order to make his point.
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At that moment, Juliet walks into the cafeteria. Sam watches her intensely, and Rob walks away. Juliet does not have a single rose with her, and Sam is deeply disappointed. Ally finishes telling the group all about the huge bouquet Juliet got, and Sam asks what she did with them. Her friends ask her why she cares. She denies caring to save face, but as her friends speculate that Juliet probably sent the roses to herself, Sam berates them for constantly making fun of her. The girls point out that just yesterday, Sam herself was ruthlessly teasing Juliet, suggesting she had rabies—Sam has no way, though, of explaining to her friends that “yesterday” was a whole world ago. Sam wonders how it is possible that she could change so much and still not change anything at all, and she is overwhelmed by a feeling of hopelessness.
The Sam of a few days ago would not recognize her life as it is now—brushing off Rob Cokran to pay attention to Juliet Sykes. Even now, Sam is reluctant to admit to her friends outright that she’s become invested in Juliet, and when she hints towards that fact, she’s called a hypocrite. Sam fears that all of her good intentions won’t amount to anything, and she begins questioning how far her agency can take her within the loop.
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As her friends raise their roses like glasses of champagne to cruelly “toast” Juliet, Sam leaves the cafeteria, looking for Juliet in the parking lot behind it. Sam is relieved, though, to find that Juliet has seemingly disappeared—Sam isn’t quite sure what she would have said to her if she’d caught up with her. Sam looks forward to that evening, when she will finally “get free” of this whole thing. She looks forward to all the things she’ll do once she’s out of the loop—hang out with Izzy, spend real quality time with her friends rather than just gossiping, and kiss Kent McFuller.
Sam is now ditching her friends for Juliet Sykes—the unthinkable has truly happened. It becomes a little more clear in this passage that Sam is, after all, still more invested in fixing things for Juliet Sykes so that things will turn out all right for herself—her actions are not truly selfless yet; they’re still tinged with self-centeredness.
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At that moment, amazingly, Kent comes right up behind Sam. He tells her that it’s too bad she wasn’t in calculus earlier—she missed some roses. He pulls his special rose for her out of his bag and hands it to her—she tells him it’s beautiful. Sam wonders what Kent would do if she grabbed him and kissed him right now. She thinks about what Ally was saying days ago about chaos theory, and about all the random steps, missteps, and coincidences which have brought her face-to-face with Kent right now.
Sam sees her relationships now through the haze of the events of the loop—she is very sensitive to how all things are interconnected, and how small threads pulled in one part of the day affect the outcome of small—or large—parts of the rest of it.
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Sam tells Kent she’s heard he’s having a party tonight, and that it’s the “place to be”—but she tells him that even if it weren’t, she’d come anyway. Kent begins rattling on about the party, but Sam interrupts him, saying she has something to tell him. Kent leans in close to Sam, and she becomes dizzy with desire. As Sam is about to say something to Kent, she hears Lindsay calling her, wanting to know if the two of them are going to cut class and head to TCBY. Sam is actually grateful for the interruption, unsure of what she was about to say or do, and Kent ducks away. Lindsay asks why Sam was talking to Kent, but Sam doesn’t answer—and she certainly doesn’t tell Lindsay that she is feeling “light and invincible, the best kind of tipsy.”
Sam is indeed loosening her grip on the importance of social divisions and boundaries—she would not have been caught dead flirting with Kent McFuller a few days ago, but now she flouts the invisible rules and regulations which hold dominion over her high school in pursuit of being herself and developing her own burgeoning friendships.
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At Ally’s house, Sam obsessively checks and re-checks her makeup. Her friends tell her she’s “Freaking out,” and offer her shots of vodka. Sam declines, though—this is “the first day of [her] new beginning.” She tells herself that, from now on, she is going to do things right—she is going to be the kind of person who is remembered well.
Sam’s bouncy, exhilarated energy has carried her throughout the day—she is as determined now as she was this morning to continue on her path of setting things right. Things are still a lot about her, though, and rehabilitating her own image.
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As the girls drive to the party, Sam goes over what she is going to say to Kent in her head again and again—she’s planning on asking him to hang out. At the party, Sam, dead sober, is shocked by how “ridiculously packed together” everyone is, and how uncomfortable the party seems. The girls push their way upstairs, and as Sam passes her classmates, she is unsettled by the fact that, despite having been in class with these kids forever, they now look different and unfamiliar. She feels “like a curtain has dropped away” and she can now see people for who they really are.
Sam realizes now how much of the social divisions that plague her high school are not just arbitrary, but false. She and her classmates have known each other since childhood, but they’ve let those bonds and that intimacy fall away in service of ridiculous divisions that have no bearing on who a person is. Sam is able to peer past the “curtain,” and she wishes everyone else could, too.
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Sam sees Kent in the corner of a room upstairs, talking to another girl. Sam turns around to find Lindsay, but can’t—she knows that Lindsay will have gone off to find Patrick. Sam knows that this means that Rob will be coming up to her soon, and sure enough, there he is. He tells Sam that he wasn’t sure she would come, since she was acting “crazy” all day. Rob asks Sam if she is going to apologize—he tells her that they can figure out a way for her to make things up to him. Sam is angry with Rob, and the “years and years of fantasy” she indulged about him fall away in that instant.
Sam feels duped by Rob—she harbored feelings for so long not necessarily for him, but for the idea of him (and the promise of the status and social capital he could bring). She is angry with him for not being better, and angry with herself for having changed the course of her life and sacrificed so much in service of a mere “fantasy.”
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Sam tells Rob she’d like to make things up to him. She tells him they need some one-on-one time, and then instructs him to go wait for her completely naked inside the nearby bedroom with stickers all over the door—Kent’s room. Rob stumbles quickly toward the room, and Sam calls that she’ll be there in just five minutes.
Sam decides to use her agency to serve Rob his just desserts, once and for all. She knows how precious social standing is to him now, despite his cool demeanor, and she knows just how to hit him where it will hurt most.
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Ally comes up to Sam, who has by now lost sight of Kent. Sam asks Ally if she’s seen Kent anywhere, but Ally hasn’t, and besides, Sam decides that Ally is too drunk already to be useful. Sam and Ally circulate through the party—they spot Amy Weiss, the biggest gossip in school, making out with a guy, and Sam drags Ally toward her. Sam tells Amy that if she wants a better spot with more privacy, there’s an available room—it’s the one with stickers all over the door. Having set Rob up for humiliation, Sam continues to make her way through the party.
Sam continues to set her plan in motion as she moves through the party, realizing now that the small strings she pulls and choices she makes will have certain outcomes—she knows that she can change things, and she uses that newfound power in a way that many of her classmates are still scared to do.
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A few moments later, there is a scream, and Sam fears with a dread that Juliet has already arrived—instead, the scream is followed by laughter, and Ally calls Sam over to her—Rob is in the hallway in nothing but underwear and sneakers. Sam is too amused to feel bad for Rob. She laughs with Ally, who then tells her that Kent is behind them. Sam attempts to drag Ally with her towards him, but Ally scoots off to find Lindsay. When Sam turns around to head for Kent, he has disappeared into a room, and Bridget McGuire and Alex Liment are behind Sam instead. Bridget approaches Sam and asks if she knows what the assignment was from Alex’s English class—Alex had to miss class to make a doctor’s appointment.
Sam has spent this day trying to set many things right—but she’s trying to make things bend to her idea of what “right” is. Sam has become an agent of change in this chapter, but not necessarily an agent of fate, as she meddles in the affairs of her classmates again and again in pursuit of her own idea of truth and justice.
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Sam, wanting to fix things for poor Bridget, asks if anyone smells Chinese food. Alex acts like Sam is crazy, but he is also visibly uncomfortable. Sam asks Alex outright what is wrong with him. When he squirms, she clarifies that she means what sent him to the doctor. Alex says it was just a general checkup—Sam looks pointedly at Alex’s crotch and tells him she hopes they were thorough. She then goes on to say she’s been looking for a new doctor, and it’s hard to find a good one—especially one that doubles as a restaurant with a cheap lunch special. Sam tells Bridget that she’s sorry, but her boyfriend is a “slimeball,” and walks away, leaving the two of them to figure things out.
Sam believes that the right thing to do is to out Alex as a liar and a cheater and rescue Bridget from him. There’s no way to know if this is truly the right thing to do or not, but in this chapter, Sam feels she has become both judge and jury—the calls are hers to make and the strings are hers to pull, and so she proceeds with her mission of setting everything right for everyone she can.
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Sam moves through the party, wondering if she is doing things right—and if she is still going to be able to save Juliet, who should have been her main focus that day despite all the other good she’s doing. She worries that talking to Kent will be hopeless—she doesn’t have words to describe how wrong she’s been about everyone and how she’s been changing.
Even as Sam confidently meddles in the affairs of others, she has some cognizance of the fact that she might not actually be doing what’s right. Moreover, her quest to do good has distracted her from what should have been her real focus, Juliet.
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Sam feels a hush fall around her, and sure enough, when she looks down the hall, Juliet Sykes is there. As Juliet passes Sam, Sam grabs her arm and drags her back down the hall, pulling her into the nearest bathroom. Sam asks Juliet what she’s doing—Juliet simply says that “it’s a party” and she’s allowed to be here, just like everyone else. Juliet confesses that she came to tell Sam, Lindsay, Elody, and Ally something. Sam and Juliet say that they’re all “bitches” at the exact same time. Juliet, shocked, stares at Sam.
Sam is able to head Juliet off at last, shocking her enough that she will perhaps listen to Sam, even if just for a moment. Sam believes that if she can just get through to Juliet she can really change things, and as she sets her plan in motion, she is clearly feeling confident and in control.
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Sam tells Juliet that she is sorry for having made fun of her for so many years, and she tries to explain how the girls never even really thought about doing it, or about how it would affect Juliet—“It’s just the kind of thing that happens.” She tells Juliet again that she and her friends just didn’t think. Juliet calmly begins recounting all the horrible ways Sam and her friends have teased her over the years—stealing her gym clothes, taking pictures of her while she was showering and posting them online for everyone to see, hacking her email account and publishing embarrassing exchanges with someone she’d met in a chat room, starting rumors about Juliet selling her virginity for a pack of cigarettes. Sam tries to protest that the other girls did those things, not her, but she soon realizes that it doesn’t matter, anyway—it was all of them, every student in the school, who was responsible for Juliet’s pain.
Sam’s apology is honest, but cruel at the same time. She basically says to Juliet that they didn’t pick on her for any real reason—she was just an easy, random target. The trauma they have inflicted upon Juliet, though, runs deeper than Sam ever realized—or ever was willing to let herself see and believe—and the idea that all of this hurt was caused just for a random lark is not an apology but yet another cruel stab in the heart for Juliet. Sam tries to exonerate herself, riding on her high of being a do-gooder and a fixer-upper, but in the end she cannot deny that everyone is complicit in Juliet’s suffering.
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Sam is on the verge of tears, both sad for Juliet and frustrated that she herself can’t make her see that Sam is trying to make things right. Sam assures Juliet that things will soon get better. She reminds her of the roses she got today, hoping to cheer her up, but Juliet’s eyes fill with hatred. She asks Sam if the bouquet was yet another joke. Sam promises Juliet she wasn’t trying to mess with her, but Juliet believes Sam sent the roses to remind her that she was “nobody.” Sam, now crying, insists that she was just trying to make Juliet feel better. Juliet derisively replies that no one can make her better.
Sam foolishly believed that Juliet’s disconnectedness from her classmates was easily fixable—she didn’t understand how deep the pain ran and how difficult it would be to pull Juliet back from the edge. Even Sam’s well-intentioned actions now read to Juliet as mean, petty, and spiteful, all in the name of further humiliating her.
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This reminds Sam of what she said to Kent a couple days ago about how she herself couldn’t be fixed, but now she knows she was wrong. Sam is trying to think of a way to communicate this all to Juliet, but Juliet calmly pushes her way past Sam. She hesitates at the door, though, and begins telling Sam about how she and Lindsay were once best friends. Juliet explains that right before Lindsay’s parents got divorced, their fighting was so awful that Lindsay would have nightmares and even wet the bed. Juliet recalls finding an embarrassed Lindsay sitting in the tub one morning, scrubbing a soiled pillow with bleach. Sam, with a flash, remembers Lindsay throwing up in the Mexican restaurant.
Sam has felt the kind of things Juliet is feeling—loneliness and hopelessness—for many days now. She wishes she could make Juliet to understand, but she foolishly wasn’t prepared for any other outcome than Juliet’s gratitude and rebirth as a happy, popular girl. The real truth, when Juliet begins to reveal it, is almost more than Sam can handle—she begins to realize that she has been a pawn in a much larger game and has been a tool of Lindsay’s torment since the day they became friends. 
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Juliet goes on to tell Sam that it was Lindsay who wet the sleeping bag on the Girl Scout trip, but blamed everything on Juliet, despite the fact that they were best friends. Sam realizes that Lindsay has always been afraid of Juliet and has teased her so ruthlessly in order to discredit her—Juliet is the keeper of her worst secret. Sam considers “the chance and randomness” of how one person shoots up while another spirals downward.
Sam knows now that her cruelty toward Juliet was loyalty toward Lindsay—and loyalty toward Lindsay always has, and always will, mean perpetuating that cruelty. Sam considers how profoundly Juliet has been beaten down, all in service of protecting a stupid, banal secret so that Lindsay could, unimpeded, just grow more and more popular.
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Sam asks Juliet why she never said anything, and Juliet says that she thought the harassment would pass, but that it doesn’t matter now. She pushes her way out of the bathroom at last, and Sam follows her, desperately trying to keep up as she is stopped by an angry Alex Liment and then an elated Kent McFuller, who is thrilled to see that Sam has come. All day, Sam has just wanted to see Kent—now that she has found him, there is no time. Sam tells Kent that she’s sorry, but she can’t talk to him right now, and she runs for the front door.
After this disastrous encounter with Juliet, Sam is at last fully ready to push aside all her selfish impulses and desires in order to make things right, and in abandoning Kent, she demonstrates the new maturity she has come into.
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As Sam heads into the woods, the rain is heavy and she feels hopeless, but the thought of the vulnerable Juliet pushes her onward. Sam feels Lindsay’s car keys in her pocket—she is the designated driver—and she feels relieved that, at least tonight, they won’t be the ones who hit Juliet if something bad happens. As Sam stalks through the woods, she realizes that the “whole big, sprawling mess of [her] life” has been brought to a point, a final second—Juliet’s last act of revenge against Sam and her friends. Sam tells herself that things simply cannot happen this way and she continues on.
Sam keeps making small strides in the direction of maturity, but she still, at this point, wants to make things right more for her own benefit than Juliet’s. She sees Juliet’s trajectory as a direct reflection of her own actions, and she believes her own agency can still change things for Juliet.
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Sam reaches the main road and scans the woods for Juliet. She finds herself in the road, and a car comes toward her—the car swerves and Sam falls onto the pavement, cutting up her palms. When she stands, she sees Juliet fifty feet ahead of her, emerging from the woods. Sam goes toward her slowly, watching as Juliet lifts her arms as if she is preparing to dive into a pool. Sam screams Juliet’s name, but Juliet does not respond. A truck is approaching, and Sam runs to Juliet and pushes her into the woods before she can throw herself out in front of it.
Sam knows Juliet’s plan and is desperate to stop it from happening. Even though this isn’t Lindsay’s car, Sam knows that Juliet is desperate to end her life regardless of her desire for revenge, since she simply shot herself on one of the February 12ths that Sam has already lived.
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Juliet asks Sam what she’s doing, and Sam asks Juliet what she’s doing—Sam thought the whole point, she says, was to wait for Lindsay’s car as “revenge.” Juliet laughs humorlessly and tells Sam that, “for once,” things aren’t all about her. She asks Sam to leave her alone. Sam asks Juliet why she came to the party in the first place—what the point of it all was. Juliet insists there was no point, just things she wanted to say. She’s not afraid of anything anymore, she tells Sam.
Sam’s belief that Juliet was purposefully planning to throw herself in front of Lindsay’s car, however, proves to be yet another self-centered fallacy which Sam has indulged. Not everything is about Sam and Lindsay—Juliet is in pain, and is simply seeking a way out of it, with no regard for the girls who have tormented her.
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Sam knows, though, that Juliet came to the party to use the girls’ reaction to her tirade as a “final push” toward suicide. Sam pleads with Juliet to come away from the road, telling her that “this isn’t the way.” Sam begs Juliet to think of her family, and her sister, but Juliet is not listening to her. As the roar of an engine approaches, Juliet tells Sam that she’s “too late,” and wrenches herself away from Sam and into the road—she is launched into the air when the car hits her, and Sam screams.
Sam understands that Juliet was always going to kill herself tonight but she wanted to be spurred toward the action even further by forcing herself to endure a party full of taunting and torment. Sam understands at last that, despite all her good intentions, she cannot change Juliet’s will.
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An hour and a half later, Sam and Lindsay, having already dropped off Elody and Ally, are sitting in Lindsay’s driveway. Sam remembers being questioned by the police, who asked if Juliet said anything to her about what she was feeling—Sam replied only that Juliet wasn’t feeling “much of anything.” Now, when Lindsay asks her the same question, Sam replies that it’s not the “kind of thing” you can explain. Sam feels empty.
Sam has been through something—yet another thing—that she can’t even begin to explain to her friends. This leaves her feeling lonely and isolated, and she knows that there’s no use in trying to connect with her friends over this—things will just reset tomorrow.
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As Lindsay gets out of the car, Sam stops her, asking if she remembers the time when Sam walked in on her purging at the Mexican restaurant. Sam asks Lindsay if that was really the only time—Lindsay replies that it was, but Sam knows that Lindsay is lying. Sam realizes at last that Lindsay is not fearless—she is always, always terrified, just like the rest of her classmates. Sam confesses that Juliet told her the truth about the Girl Scout trip. She begs Lindsay to tell her why she spread such hurtful lies about Juliet. Lindsay answers that she “always thought [the teasing] wouldn’t last” and that Juliet would eventually have enough and stick up for herself.
Sam tries to confront Lindsay about all her lies and all the pain she has caused, but Lindsay is a master manipulator. What’s sadder than that is that Lindsay seems to almost not recognize that she is so adept at lying and so powerful at controlling others; she, too, is completely baffled by how long the torment went on and how deeply it has now grown to affect all of them.
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Lindsay leaves the car and nods at the car idling behind them—it is Kent’s car. He has been parked behind them the whole time, waiting to take Sam home after she drops Lindsay’s car off. As Lindsay prepares to head up toward her house, she apologizes to Sam. Rather than offering Lindsay absolution, Sam simply tells Lindsay that everyone would still love her, even if they knew the truth.
Sam wants Lindsay to know that, even if the truth were to emerge, it’s not too late—people would still forgive her, still cherish her, and still see her as the same old Lindsay. Sam also doesn’t offer forgiveness here, because Sam knows that the suffering Lindsay caused in others is not Sam’s to forgive.
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Kent opens the passenger-side door of his car for Sam and she slides in. On the drive back to Sam’s house, neither of them says anything—there is a lot Sam wants to say, but she can’t bring herself to speak. When they reach Sam’s driveway, she thanks Kent for driving her home, and then blurts out that everything tonight was awful except for these few minutes in the car with Kent.
At the end of a night which proved long, horrible, and completely the opposite of everything Sam wanted, she finds herself once again face to face with the only person, perhaps, who can see the real her, and it is a balm against the night’s events.
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Kent reaches out and cups Sam’s face in his hands but then pulls them away, apologizing. Sam feels her body “humming.” Kent says he’s got the timing all wrong—he doesn’t want to kiss Sam after everything that happened tonight, and when she’s still together with Rob. Sam tells Kent that she broke up with Rob, and Kent says that that’s at least one good thing, because he needs to kiss her. As he presses his lips to Sam’s, she feels as if it is her first kiss—her first real kiss.
Sam is done denying the electric pull between her and Kent—she leans into it now, wanting to explore it fully. She finds that the connection between them is purer than anything she’s known—she knows for sure now that what she was doing with Rob was just wasting time. 
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The two break away and confess how much they like each other. After a moment, though, Kent realizes how tired Sam is, and helps her out of the car and toward the house. Sam asks Kent if he’s ever afraid to go to sleep—Kent confesses that sometimes he is afraid of what he’s leaving behind. The two of them kiss once more, on the steps of Sam’s porch, and she feels time and space “recede and blast away,” leaving only the two of them together in the darkness.
Sam has been a pawn of time for so many days, but now, as she kisses Kent McFuller, it seems as if she is the one in control of time, able to find ways to make it stop, or expand, or bend to her will.
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