Sam had gone to the hospital after school, a bag of cherry drops in hand. He waited outside a white door, in a white hallway full of people. He glanced at the door every now and then, waiting for a man in white to come out. He looked at the couple across from him, and they sent him a weak smile, one he sensed had gratitude in it. Eventually, the doctor had come out, and gave the trio of people the go-ahead to enter the room. He let the parents enter first, but he was surprised when they turned to him after stepping through and invited him inside by extending a hand to him, the same weak smile of gratitude on their faces. He carefully stepped inside and saw Lloyd in the hospital bed with bandages wrapped around his head that were carefully placed to avoid pain when he moved his head.
He saw the other teen's parents- they were only his parents now- hug their son tightly, like they were terrified to let him go. For his part, Lloyd hugged them back just as tightly. Sam could see that all three of them were holding back their tears. They let go of their son and nodded to him, silently telling him that he could come closer now. Sam walked to Lloyd's bed and held out the bag of candy, much to Lloyd's surprise.
"… How are you holding up, how are you feeling?"
He could tell that the other male wanted to ask what he was doing there, but keeping his thoughts unheard because of the parents in the room. He cautiously took the bag of candy.
"I'm fine as I can be, I guess… Thanks for the candy."
Sam simply nodded, not sure what else to say. He didn't want to offend anyone by asking what happened. Luckily for him, Mr. Meridan spoke up.
"This entire incident should never have happened." His face was now covered with a glower towards no one in the room.
His wife attempted to calm him upon seeing the signs. "Dear…"
"No! They're kids, Marilyn, kids! Our daughter wasn't 18, she was seventeen! Our son, he's only sixteen! Who would do that to children?!" He ranted.
Mrs. Meridan put a hand on his shoulder, and he took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, I've just been overwhelmed-"
"There's no need to apologize, sir."
"Don't apologize, Dad."
Both teenagers had spoken at the same time. They looked at each other, surprised. They had moments like that in class before, having almost the exact same thing on their minds and saying them at the exact same time.
"It's not your fault." Lloyd spoke up. "It's whoever did this to Juliet. They're to blame." He held back tears as the words came out of his mouth.
Sam couldn't help but nod and agree. "Lloyd's right. This isn't the only teen murder lately. None of you should be blaming yourselves, because none of you are at fault, for either of these crimes-"
"Wait." Lloyd interrupted. "Did you say there's another murder?"
Mr. Meridan's frown grew. "What's your name?"
"Sam. Sam Halberd."
Mrs. Meridan's frown now matched her family's. "Tell us more."
As Sam spoke, Lloyd grew angrier. He knew Miranda as well. His sister was great friends with her, and Miranda treated him nicely. He liked her because she had made his sister happy before, and they were so close they had comforted each other throughout the events of the previous year. He knew what happened, but he had a feeling before, and he realized what he was feeling now. It had come back.
The suspicion that someone had done both girls wrong.
"Sam, I'm getting out of this place tomorrow. Wanna meet at my house after school?" He asked, neglecting to ask his parents. Luckily, they had heard him ask too, and they seemed okay with it.
Sam thought he heard wrong, but when he looked up at Lloyd to ask, he saw the look on his classmate's face that screamed 'you heard right.' It only took him a second to realize what the invitation was for. He nodded.
"I'll be there. You can copy my notes for today's stuff."
Lloyd looked determined, and he shot Sam a thankful look. He didn't recall ever looking at the other teen with anything other than glares and laughing faces. But right now, he had a feeling he could have an ally in figuring out the truth, and it showed on his face as he looked at Sam.