Arctic Fox Book 3: Pursuit of the Dream - Chapter 20

The Arctic Fox 3.jpg

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?

I want to thank Malady, once again, 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 20

Chatham home, Sammy’s Room

July 2nd, 20

8:30 PM

When Sammy was three years old, his biological parents were killed in a freak accident at a 4th of July fireworks show. For quite some time, it seemed as though he hadn't remembered the event, but looking at the drawing on his wall, it was obvious that the images were inside his mind. Pictured on the wall was Sonja Dupont, Sammy’s biological mother, her clothes and hair in flames. Between her and the six approaching aerial fireworks was her husband and Sammy’s biological father, Raymond.

He remembers.” Darryl said.

On some level, yeah.” his sister agreed.

Marcia knelt down, intending to hug the little boy. She felt a bit of pain, but shook it off. At that moment, her main concern was Sammy. She put her arms around him and hugged him tight.

For his part, Sammy didn’t react at all. In fact, he seemed to wonder what everyone was excited about.

July 3rd, 2023

10:07 AM

Mage was shocked by what she’d seen on Sammy’s wall the night before. Thinking that Sammy didn’t remember had been a comfort. It meant they wouldn’t need to tell him what had happened until they felt he could handle it. Knowing that he remembered changed that. Now, it seemed imperative that they get Sammy in to see a therapist.

She was sitting in the kitchen, mulling over her and Chet’s discussion about just that. She was going to contact several therapists and see what could be done.

She searched through child therapists in Palmer, and then down the Glenn Highway to Anchorage. There were several and she found a couple that interested her greatly. One was named Sonja Winters, and was right in Palmer. She didn’t have quite the credentials as some of the others, but she was said to be LGBTQ-friendly.

Another was in Anchorage, a man named Ralph Walker. He said nothing about LGBTQ, but had impressive credentials, He had been working with children for over forty years and had dealt almost exclusively with neuro-divergent children for the last thirty.

Calling the two did little to help her decide who was best qualified to talk to Sammy, but she was tempted to go with Ralph Walker. His degrees and experience with children like Sammy boosted his credibility in her eyes. She would wait and see what Chet said, however.

6:34 PM

Chet came in from working outside with Bruce and Ron. Chet refused to sit inside all the time, and not learn how the farm itself worked. He was the CEO, but he made sure he knew what the paperwork he dealt with meant.

Mage had dinner ready for them, and she had moved her wedding-planning brother and sister-in-law off of the kitchen table to the office. She called them back into the kitchen when dinner had been set on the table for everyone and the kids.

After dinner, Marcia took the kids upstairs, and naturally Darryl accompanied her. In the meantime, Mage told Chet about the child therapists she’d found online that morning.

What did you say the woman in Palmer’s name is?” Chet asked her.

Sonja Winters,” she replied. “Why?”

Well, I seem to remember that one of the men has a sister who’s a therapist in town.” He led Mage into the office where he logged into his computer. He called up personnel and looked up the last name Winters. Sure enough, Stephen Winters, the man who had been Bruce’s right-hand man for several years, had his sister, Sonja, as his emergency contact.

That’s interesting,” Mage said, chagrined that she hadn’t remembered that tidbit of information. HR was her department for the business, but she supposed she’d had other things on her mind. “Do you think we should call her?”

What do you think? I know the guy in Anchorage has a lot of experience with kids. Especially autistic kids.”

Mage nodded. “Yeah, and I think that’s a good thing. I think we need to take that into account.” She thought for a moment. “Of course, Sammy has a great relationship with Marcia. He does seem to gravitate to women.”

It was Chet’s turn to nod. “You’ve got a point. Palmer would be a lot easier for us, however. We’re talking a forty-five minute drive to Anchorage and another forty-five minute drive back every appointment.”

True, but I’d be willing to make the trip to Fairbanks for him if it would make a difference, regardless,” Mage stated.

Chet nodded.

July 4th, 2023

Chatham Farmhouse, Palmer AK


I don’t want to go to the fireworks without you, Foxy!” Darryl was not happy, as Marcia was planning to keep Sammy at home rather than take him to the fireworks at Palmer Fairgrounds.

Darryl,” she said, “I don’t think it would be good for him to see the fireworks under the circumstances, and he can’t stay home. Even if he could, there’s liable to be fireworks he can see and hear from the house. It wouldn’t be good.”

Darryl sighed. “Okay then. I’m staying here too.”

Darryl,” Marcia argued. “You’ll want to see them, and I don’t want to stop you from that. You love fireworks. You should go to see them!

Foxy,” Darryl said, putting his hands on her shoulders, “I want to spend this fourth with you, okay? That’s worth a whole lot more to me than going to see fireworks.”

You love fireworks,” Marcia said again, but she was clearly weakening.

And what if you have to pick up Sammy?” he asked logically.

She couldn’t argue with that. and sighed. “Okay. I’ll certainly be happy for you to be here with me.”


Marcia and Darryl joined Mage and Chet in the kitchen where Mage was packing a cooler to take to the fairgrounds.

We’re staying here with Sammy,” Darryl told them.

Mage looked at Darryl askance. “Are you sure you just don’t want to make out with Marcia?”

Of course I do, but Sammy doesn’t need to go to the fireworks.”

Chet snerked. “Will you actually be watching Sammy?”

We’ll have plenty of time for other things in just a few days, Big Brother,” Marcia responded baitingly.

Wait a second,” Darryl argued. “No making out tonight?”

Mage laughed out loud. “Actually, I feel better about you two watching him. Stephen had volunteered to stay here with him. His sister is a therapist, and I’m sure he knows a lot about caring for a little boy like Sammy, but Sammy knows you two and has a great bond with you, Marcia.” She paused. “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the fireworks?”

Sure we do,” Darryl said, “But we want to make sure Sammy is okay tonight too.”

There might be some fireworks lit off around here,” Marcia put in. “He needs me to be there.”

Chet smiled at that. What his sister said was a statement of fact, and he knew it. If anyone could keep him calm with fireworks going off around him, she could.

We don’t know he’ll react badly to them,” Chet said.

Marcia gave him a doubtful look. “Do you believe that?” she said.

Not really,” Chet said after a moment.

Okay then.”

Mage held up a finger and went into a storage room off the main kitchen. She came back a moment later with a smaller picnic basket. She reached into the big one she was packing and pulled out three sandwiches, some sodas, and a couple of bags of chips, then placed it all into the smaller cooler.

Your dinner,” she told them.

Thanks, Sis,” Darryl said, giving her a quick hug. “I appreciate it.”

We appreciate it,” Marcia said smiling, and giving her sister-in-law a hug of her own as soon as her fiance let go.

No hugs for me?” Chet said to his sister.

I’ll give you a hug,” Darryl said.

No offense, Darryl,” Chet said, “but a hug from you’s just not the same.”

I should hope not,” Marcia said. “Besides, I reserve the right for all his hugs. Except for those he gives to Mage and Mom Johnson.”

Chet laughed. “I respect that. See, Darryl? Not allowed.”

Darryl gave a mock sigh. “All right,” he said, sounding dejected.

Is it so bad to reserve your hugs for me?” Marcia asked.

Well, no, but…” He stopped.

Chet made a digging motion and Mage nodded in agreement.

Better stop, Darryl,” Mage said. “You’re starting to get deep there.”

Marcia was standing right in front of him, her arms crossed. Darryl put his arms around her and gave her a huge kiss.

Better,” Marcia said, giving an approving nod.

Darryl went to the chest freezer, pulled out a block of ice, and put it in the cooler. He then picked up the cooler and gestured for Marcia to precede him into the living room. “M’lady,” he said.

She grinned and led the way out of the kitchen.

Chet laughed at the two.

They’re so good for each other,” he commented to his wife.

Yep,” she agreed. “I’m so happy for them.”

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