Her blonde, curly hair swooped down on her collar, despite the high ponytail she had placed it in. She sat quietly reading a book at the table, waiting for service.
"What'll it be?" The waitress asked the boy in the booth next to her.
"I'll have a cheeseburger with mayonnaise, relish, and mustard. A large fry, chocolate malt and a coke, please." He responded in a well-spoken, British accent.
Lizzie looked up to peek at the young man when the waitress came to her table.
"And you?" she asked not even looking up from her servers pad.
"A bagel and water, please." Lizzie's voice was as mousy as the blue dress that hung on her small frame.
"Bagel and water, huh?" The waitress, whose name tag said Madge, repeated. Then, she rolled her eyes and walked away towards the counter.
"Excuse me." Lizzie whispered to the boy, but he didn't look her way. "Ptssss! Excuse me." After still not getting any recognition that she even existed, she yelled, "Hey boy!"
Finally, he glanced her way, as did everyone else in the diner. She sunk in her chair a little after noticing the reaction she got, causing the 16 year old guy to respond. "Me?" He asked.
"Yeah, you," she said back as if it were obvious.
"It was hard to tell who you were speaking to. There are a lot of boys in this establishment you could have been yelling for." His speech was of upper class and definitely educated.
Lizzie picked up her book and knapsack and walked over to sit at his booth.
"What are you doing?" He was stunned that she would invite herself to sit with him.
She ignored his question and sat down across from him. "Are you Jacob?"
He looked around the room and could see some of the other teenagers whispering and pointing at them. "What?" He sounded exasperated.
"We were supposed to meet here today, remember?" She was sitting on her knees rocking slightly.
"No and please stop." He motioned.
"Rocking. I'm becoming sea-sick." He was relieved when Madge had brought over the bagel. It seemed to keep the hyper, young girl occupied.
"Yours'll be right up, hon," Madge said as she left the booth.
"Where do I know you from?" He studied her face for a hint of anything familiar.
"From the website a few days ago. Remember now?" She answered then washed a bite of her bagel down with water.
He searched his mind but still didn't have any recollection of her. "Which..." his thought was interrupted by the food being placed in front of him. "Thank you." He glanced at Madge then back at Lizzie. "Which website?"
"The one we met in, duh," she said sarcastically.
He could feel his head begin to ache. Shaking off his confusion, he then asked with hesitation, "What would the name of that particular website have been." He would definitely get an answer this time.
"Same as it is now, I guess," she answered dryly.
"Are you purposely trying to screw with my head?!" He was getting upset at the runaround she was giving him, but then he saw the perplexed look on her pale face. He paused for a moment, lowering his tone back down. "I apologize for snapping. Maybe if I ask what your name is, I could get a straight answer." He looked at her with anticipation.
She shrugged and took a sip of water. "Maybe."
Throwing his French fry back down on its plate in disgust, he replied, "What is your name?"
"Lizzie. See, that wasn't so hard, was it?" She leaned over and felt his forehead. "Your face is all red. You feel okay?"
"No!" He exclaimed.
"Well that would explain why you're so moody."
He closed his eyes for a moment, hoping that when he opened them, she would be gone. He had no such luck. "Lizzie." He repeated her name to himself several times. "I don't know anyone by the name of Lizzie, and," but he couldn't finish his sentence.
"Sure you do." She was straightforward. Then, she said excitingly, "That's my name."
"Of course," he said humoring her. "And, we met on the website a few days ago."
A smile crept across her face. "You do remember me."
He had to admit to himself that there was something about her smile that intrigued him. She lit up the entire room with it. He felt himself wanting to know more, but had to be careful to phrase the questions correctly. He took the last bite of his burger and offered the fries to Lizzie, who graciously accepted a few of them. "Do you have a last name?" He cringed after he had asked that, knowing the answer he would get would be a flat 'yes'.
"No." Her tone was unemotional.
"Excuse me?" He had leaned toward her as if he had heard her wrong. "Did you just say 'no'?"
"Yea. I don't have a last name."
They were both eating the fries and before he knew it, they were also sharing his malt. For some strange reason, he didn't care. At the moment, he was just absorbed in his curiosity as to who she was, how she knew him, and why she didn't have a last name.
"Everyone has a last name."
"Not everyone." Lizzie sipped on the malt threw the straw she had claimed.
His voice became mocking. "Name one." Before she could speak, he cut in with "and don't say 'you'." He smiled with deep satisfaction knowing that he had foiled her plans in confusing him once more. 'Check mate' he thought.
She stared at him wide eyed before answering. "Okay. Me. I don't have a last name."
His head dropped to the booth table with a loud thud
"Why would I say 'you'?" she asked puzzled. "You have a last name."
He lifted his head briefly to look up at her with his bewildered expression, and then slowly placed it back down. "I'm not even sure I have a first name anymore." He muttered.
"Sure you do. It's Jacob." She slurped the last bit of the chocolate malt.
"No, it's not," he admitted.
"But you said your name was Jacob." Now she was baffled.
"Actually, you said my name was Jacob. I don't even know anyone named Jacob. My name is Thomas." He sat up straight in the booth again.
She glared at him with a dazed look on her face. "I'm confused." She narrowed her eyes as if to get a better look at him.
"Welcome to my world." He sighed.
"I don't want to be in your world. I want to be in mine."
With a smirk on his face, he couldn't pass up the chance to say it. "You do live in your own little world, don't you?"
"Don't you mock me." She was becoming cross with him. And in a sarcastic manner, added "At least I know my name." She stuffed her books into her knapsack and stood up. "Good day to you, Jacob. I hope you feel better soon." Then, Lizzie spun around on one foot and marched out of the diner.
'Thank God that's over with.' Thomas thought. Then he heard that name once more.
"Jacob." He looked up to see Madge standing over him.
"My name is Thomas. That poor girl had me confused with someone else."
"Okay," said Madge with two pieces of paper in her hand. "Whoever you are, are you paying for her meal also?" She placed the tabs on the table, and he reluctantly reached for his wallet.
"I suppose so. It was just a bagel anyway." He handed her a $20 bill and told her to keep the change.
"Thank you, Jacob, Thomas, whatever your name is."
"Thomas," he said calmly.
She headed for the cash register and turned to him one last time. "May I make a suggestion?" the waitress asked.
"Don't talk to strangers?" He said musingly.
She flashed a grin then answered, "That, and wear your own clothes." She pointed to his blazer.
Thomas looked down at the name tag and laughed when he saw the name 'Jacob' printed on it. 'Damn dry cleaner' the boy known as Jacob thought.