I call this scene my Spy Teddy Scene. I wrote it in an early draft, but, in the end, opted to use a different tact.
Tara’s conscience niggled over setting up the spy camera without running the idea by Zach first. Reaching for the door to her floor, she shoved the concern from her mind. Setting up a spy camera was hardly exposing herself to danger.
“Oh, isn’t he cute,” Darlene’s voice rang through the hall, attracting glances from every patient ambling within earshot.
Tara’s gaze shot to the nurse’s station where the student nurse held…Spy Teddy.
Tara muffled a gasp. This couldn’t be happening.
Alice Bradshaw tore Spy Teddy from the student nurse’s hands and poked at its face. “Where did this come from?”
Tara froze as curiosity seekers crowded around Alice. Dr. Whittaker and Dr. McCrae joined them, clad in their usual white lab coats. Tara’s pounding heart roared in her ears. If they scanned the digital recording, they were bound to see images of Suzie that hadn’t been erased. Or—her heart clenched—images of her and Zach from this morning when they joked about “the early bird catching the worm”.
She propelled herself forward. “That’s mi—”
Dr. Whittaker snared the bear first and turned it over in his hands. “This is a cute little fellow. Where did you find it?”
Darlene’s cheeks reddened. She pointed to the shelf behind the desk.
Whittaker’s gaze flicked to Alice.
An elderly woman ambled to Dr. Whittaker’s side and pushed her wire-framed glasses further up her nose. “That looks like my granddaughter’s Teddy. She might’ve left it behind the last time she visited. Check the tag. My daughter always writes Beth’s name on the tags.”
Panic gripped Tara’s throat. If the tag identified the teddy as a camcorder, Alice would… “No,” Tara blurted.
As one, Whittaker, McCrae, Alice, and the elderly woman turned to the raving lunatic who didn’t want them to look at a tag.
Tara snatched the bear from Whittaker’s hand and clutched it to her chest. “That’s my Suzie’s bear.”
“Oh,” Darlene smiled, “did she leave it in daycare?”
“Yes, that’s right.” Tara bit her tongue, ashamed of the lie. But what else could she say?
The elderly woman sniffed, and then shuffled away.
Alice’s eyes narrowed on the bear. “Why wouldn’t you put it in your locker?”
McCrae picked up a chart from the desk. “Give her a break. She was probably too busy.” He tucked the chart under his arm and headed into Melanie Rivers’ room.
Whittaker’s gaze remained fixed on the bear for a few agonizing seconds longer. “Perhaps you should put it in your locker, Miss Peterson. We wouldn’t want someone to walk away with your daughter’s bear.”
Tara cringed at the emphasis he put on the word “daughter”.
Alice’s chin nudged a fraction higher with an air of self-satisfied smugness.
Tara started to breathe again. She’d thought for sure that Alice knew the bear had a camera in it. Thank goodness Darlene had offered the daycare explanation, because beyond the impulse to snatch the bear from Whittaker’s probing hands, Tara’s mind had gone utterly blank.
So much for her plan to catch the thief in the act. She’d probably just given Alice another reason to finish her off.