I soldiered on through, and as usually happens in situations like these, inspiration struck. I finished the chapter and the scene in a way I hadn't thought of when it began, and in a way that's better than what I was hoping for. I like to call that "being creative."
And as also usually happens, the little throwaway encounter I just wrote, between Alex and Sam and some kids from their school, has given me more ideas for later, and another way for Samantha to heal as the book goes on.
That? Is why I love to write.