Seeing Dr. Jasper pause, The Bird replied that she wasn’t worried about what people would say about him.
His paternal eyes widened, gazing down at her in the dentist chair. He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “So tell me — what does worry you?”
The Bird blinked, and said she was worried that he’d leave. Just like the pediatrician she’d liked, she added silently, or her mother’s gyno. The lawyer who helped with their easement problem with the state. The chef who opened that great restaurant, and left the next year. Professionals don’t stay in a little town like Bark Bay, her mother had told her. They get bored, or their spouses get fed up. But what Dr. Jasper was describing sounded a lot worse to The Bird than boredom.
“Really now?” He glanced up at the ceiling again. “Leave, after working so hard to establish myself in this community?” As he shook his head, he leaned over her and looked down at her. “No, my little bird — I have no intention of abandoning my practice.”
With a muffled laught, he nudged himself away from his leaning position against the chair, stood upright, and without looking down pressed a lever on the floor, the chair lowering and its back rest rising in a single mechanical motion. “You do realize, that you are perhaps-th the ONLY teenaged girl in Bark Bay who looks -th FORWARD to s-theeing her dentist-th.”
The chair stopped its mechanical movement, and The Bird, glad at hearing the sound of Dr. Jasper’s lisp again, rose from the chair with a broad smile on her face.