Arctic Fox Book 3: Pursuit of the Dream - Chapter 5

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Cover photo by Jonatan Pie. Downloaded from Unsplash

Marcia is seventeen, and along with Darryl, has moved south in Alaska to attend the Anchorage campus of the Alaska State University. She wants to pursue her dream, but will it pursue her instead?

As is always the case, I'd like to thank Malady for his help checking through this story for the many errors I frequently insert, as well as listening to my sometimes completely crazy ideas about the direction of the story and telling me how crazy they are!

Chapter 5

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

2:05 PM

Darryl was sitting on the porch of the farm house. He had been helping in the gardens, but now was on a break. It was strange. He wasn’t used to being away from Marcia for so long. Even on base, they had worked together, and had dinner together every day. Granted, they had spent the nights without each other, but they were back together the next morning.

His mind drifted to a song he’d heard many times. His dad loved the Beach Boys, and on several albums, he’d heard the song “Wouldn’t it be Nice.” At the moment, he was feeling the spirit of the song.

When they started University in the fall, he knew there would be several classes that they wouldn’t be in together, and he knew that wouldn’t be fun.

Most of the classes they’d taken together in High School, she’d helped him through studying. Naturally, she took the title of Valedictorian, but somehow, he’d managed Salutatorian, which he’d never expected.

Marcia pointed out that if he’d studied the way he did the first semester of his freshman year, he’d probably had beaten her for the title of Valedictorian. It made him feel good to be told that, but he really doubted that would have been the case.

In any case, the question on his mind was if he would he be able to maintain such a GPA in University. Without studying the same classes with Marcia, he wondered.

Marcia had always loved geology, while he had decided he would like to go into veterinary medicine. How they would ever be able to merge the two fields together, he had no idea, but he was determined to try.


At the motel, three people had been watching Peppa Pig episodes all day. Naturally, it wasn’t Mike nor Marcia’s first choice, but Amber was loving it, and they were willing to spend the time with her.

Finally, however, Amber fell asleep, and Mike and his older daughter were able to talk.

Marcia hadn’t wanted to say anything in front of Amber, but she finally was able to cuddle next to her dad and tell him, “I’m gonna miss you, Daddy.”

Well, if we were going back up to Eileson, I’d be missing you too, Marsh.”

What do you mean?” she asked.

Promise you’ll keep a secret?” he asked her.

She shook her head. “You told me one of the things you and Mom do is never keep secrets from each other.” She blushed as she called Gloria ‘Mom’. On the current day, it just didn’t seem proper.

Mike noticed the blush, and deduced what it was from, but decided to not call attention to it. Instead, he addressed what she said regarding secrets. “I did, didn’t I?” He thought for a moment, then said, “I’ll tell you what. Don’t say anything to your brother or his wife.”

She raised her eyebrow and came up with a compromise. “I don’t intend on lying, but I’ll avoid mentioning it. If they ask me directly, though...”

Well, don’t answer them if they ask directly. Besides,” Mike said, “Why would they ask you? No offense, Marsh, but don’t you think they’d probably ask me or Gloria, instead?”

Not if they suspected you were hiding something.”

Hmmm,” Mike mused. “You’re probably right.” He sighed, then said, “Well, I suppose the cat’s out of the bag. I’ve got some leave time coming up. Enough to carry me through to the day before my retirement. I’ll basically have to go up to the base to clear out my desk.”

If you were planning this, why didn’t you clear it out beforehand?”

He laughed. “Oh, I didn’t mean my personal possessions. I meant any work that I needed to do. Stuff I need to sign. The only thing I left on the desk is a picture of us all together.” He winked at her before saying, “That will remind me why I’m retiring.”

What about Darryl’s parents?” She asked. Colonel Bob hasn’t taken a vacation in a couple of years either, Daddy.”

That’s not my place to say, Marsh.”

But he’s got leave too, doesn’t he?”

Mike smiled and raised an eyebrow in a Vulcan fashion, but said nothing.

Nothing more was said as the door opened and Gloria entered.

Forget about what’s proper! Marcia thought to herself, and jumped up to throw her arms around her Mom. Not biological, but her mom none-the-less. “I love you, Mom!” she exclaimed.

I love you too, Marsh, but what’s this all about?”

Daddy told me you weren’t leaving.”

Gloria smiled at her husband. “Oh, he did, did he?”

Sorry, Hon,” Mike told her. “You know I can’t be dishonest with Marcia. She’s got me wrapped around her little finger.”

Uh huh. So does Amber and Chris. Even Chet does in his own way.” She chuckled with her husband. “You fight for freedom, but you’re servants of your children.”

And you’re not?” he laughed along with her. “You wouldn’t know what to do if you couldn’t help people when they need it.” He paused dramatically. “I take that back. It’s not when they need it. You help people no matter if they need it or not.”

You’re the same way, Mike,” she told him.

You two are so alike,” Marcia laughed as she led her mom to sit on one of the beds. Then she sat beside her and wrapped her arms around her in a big hug. “I’m glad you’re gonna be down here.”


Friday, May 5th, 2023

9 AM

Marcia was seated in the office, going through the farm’s books. Two years ago, Chet and Mage had brought the farm into Chatham Yardworks, and Marcia had started taking care of the books.

But now, however, she was being more in-depth and checking to make sure everything had been recorded properly on-site. She found no discrepancies, Although she found evidence of several dinners that had been for the workers that hadn’t been charged to the company. It appeared as though Bruce had financed them himself. Why did he do that? she wondered. She’d have to ask her brother if he knew anything about it.

There was a knock on the door, and she absently said, “Come in.”

Speak of the devil, it was Bruce.

Hi, Marcia,” he greeted her. “How’s it look?”

Things look great, Bruce. I do have a question, though.”

What’s that?” Bruce asked.

There are several meals... Well, special meals on holidays where you paid for the food yourself. How come?”

He looked at the floor. “These people have been real good to me. When Lisa left, they were right there, keeping me sane.” He looked up at the girl. “I just wanted to give something back to them.”

Bruce, that was a lot of money you spent,” she told him.

Yeah, it was, but as you’ll find, these people are worth it. They’re something special.”

She considered for a moment, then asked in a quiet voice, “Why are you leaving, Bruce?”

I’m getting toward retirement age.” As he said it, he seemed uncomfortable.

You’re not that old,” she countered.

He sighed and pulled up a chair. “Lisa worked with me here for a long time. There are so many memories here, and when I found out that she left me to be with a younger guy – well, let’s just say those memories turned sour.”

Marcia shook her head and asked, “There wasn’t any sign that…?” her voice trailed off. She knew she had no business asking, but Bruce didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he seemed to be happy to talk to her about it.

As far as I knew, we’d been happy. When she left, the kids couldn’t understand it either. They told me they always considered us a perfect couple.” He laughed sarcastically. “I guess that wasn’t true after all.”

He sat without saying anything for a couple of minutes. Marcia didn’t know what to say either. Finally, Bruce reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a couple of bank cards. One was a company American Express, and the other was a co-op gas card. He handed them to Marcia saying, “I don’t think I’ll be needing these anymore.”

Marcia looked at them, and shook her head. “You’re still showing everyone the ropes, Bruce.”

Which means I’ll have someone with me all the time. I won’t need the company cards.”

Keep them until you leave. Just in case.”

He stared at her for a moment, then reluctantly nodded. “Alright. I doubt I’ll use them, but I’ll hold onto them for now.”


Through the rest of the day, Marcia went through the records. By the end of the day she was very impressed by Bruce’s meticulous work.

Chet and Mage came in around 5:30. They had driven around the area with Stephen, Bruce’s right-hand man, meeting the providers of different supplies needed by the farm.

When they got home, Stephen, Chet, and Bruce carried the things into the barn, where things would be sorted out the next day, then Stephen got into his truck and went home.

In the office, Marcia showed her sister-in-law the work she’d done all day, and then told Mage about Bruce paying for holiday meals for the workers.

I admit, it’s kinda strange, but he’s got a great working relationship with all the people who work here,” Mage replied.

That’s true. In the records, I saw there were schedules that needed changed for people, and he always accommodated them. He gives Sundays off, something some managers would never do. Not for everyone, anyway.”

I wouldn’t worry about it,” Mage said. “I think it’s just his character.”


6:08 PM

Mike and Gloria arrived, and came into the living room. Marcia heard their voices, and looked at the clock on the wall by the door. She was surprised at the time, and decided she’d been looking at numbers enough that day.

She closed the books, and set them on a shelf behind her, then went out of the room to see her parents. They were seated in the living room with Chet, Mage, and Darryl, talking about the farm and how profitable it looked to be.

Marcia heard Amber tell Sammy that they were visiting, and she and the little boy hurried downstairs. As soon as Sammy saw his grandfather, he ran to him and launched himself into his arms. Mike’s focus on flying had allowed him to understand the little boy’s single-mindedness very well, and when Sammy drew things, Mike loved to look at every little detail, that attention to the minutia. That same attention to the little things were what kept him alive in the skies.

Bob understood as well, and had a similar relationship to the little boy. When both were present, it was hard for Sammy to decide which
Grandpa to spend time with, so he would often grab both of their hands to show them his latest creation. It never disappointed either of them, and they never ceased to tell people about his talent.

So,” Gloria began. “We’ve got some news.”

Chet had been playing with his littlest sister, and he looked up at his mom’s words. “What’s that?” He asked. “Did you find a house?”

Yeah,” Mike told them all, ”and we made a bid on it. We’ll have to see what the owner says, as well as the bank.”

So if they don’t accept it, you’ll have to come back and look again?” Mage asked. “Do you have a second choice?”

If we need a second choice, we’ll look, but this is perfect,” Gloria told her.

A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on the door, and Darryl went to answer it. He came into the living room a minute later, leading his parents. Chet stood and offered his chair to his mother-in-law, but she chose to sit on a love seat beside her husband.

Well?” Mike asked his friend.

Wanda was able to get in touch with the owner. It turns out both houses are owned by the same bank, and they’re more than willing to accept the offers. I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, as she’ll want to tell you officially, but…” Bob trailed off and Mike just grinned.

Mike turned to Mage and said, “Looks like there’ll be no need for a second choice.”

Which brings me to something I wanted to tell you,” Bob told his daughter.

You don’t have to go back to Eielson, do you?” Mage said. “Either of you?”

Marsh!” Mike exclaimed.

I didn’t tell anyone,” she said, “except Darryl, and he wasn’t bound by any promise.”

I didn’t tell anyone, though. But I noticed that you’d not taken leave for a couple of years, Dad. And if I can figure that out, Mage certainly can.”

Well,” Bob said. “I need to go back to sign papers and get things ready for the change of command.”

And we’ll have to go back to get Chris,” Gloria told them.

Chet nodded. “That makes sense.”

The little boy was doing well, but was staying with Gmma and Gmpa Matt-ewes while his parents looked for a house.

What about Grandma and Grandpa Matthews?” asked Allie who had come downstairs while they were talking.’

Oh, sweetie,” Liz said to her, gathering the girl into her arms. “Grandpa Matthews wants to keep helping kids in Fairbanks to find families.”

But what about us?” Allie asked. “I miss them.”

I know,” Liz said. “They’re not sure if kids will go to the best home if they’re not there. And they don’t want to let those kids down.”

Grandpa’s not the only judge,” Allie argued.

No, he’s not. But he’s the only judge who is such a nice man. You know that he will never let any of those children down, Allie. He knew who the best people to raise both you and Sammy were, and he made sure you’re both with your parents.”

Then the best place for Grandpa Matthews to work is down here, so more kids can be adopted by Mamma and Daddy!”

Well, I can’t really argue with that, Liz thought to herself, but before the conversation could continue, there was yet another knock on the door.

Grand central station,” Chet murmured as he made his way to the door. Opening it, he found a couple of men standing there. One of them reached into a jacket pocket and pulled out a badge. “Good evening, sir. I’m Detective Ron Fraiser, and I’d like to talk to Bruce Huff. Is he here?”

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Uh, Oh...

Maybe they just need his help with something. (crosses fingers)

Great Story! Bought the first part on Kindle then found the continuation here.

Hopefully that's all it is.

Rose's picture

I suppose we'll find out soon enough.

I'm glad you found the continuation! I hope you enjoyed book 2 also!
Thank you for reading this!



a new wrinkle

I wonder what the detective wants?


There are

Rose's picture

More wrinkles to come.





Rose's picture

I hate it when I make a double comment. Sigh.