I was understandably shocked when I woke up to find a strange guy sitting near me and a blanket over my cold, aching body.
But I had a feeling I could trust this teenager. He was alone, like me. And there was something about him that I liked.
"So where are we going?" I asked, once I'd fully processed the fact that I had a boy called Elliarno accompanying me on my grand travels.
"No idea," Elliarno says with a smile. "That's the fun of it," he whispered, leaning close to me. His darkly good looks made me feel slightly dizzy, though I felt a bit awkward too.
I shied away. "You're being a bit odd, El. People might think you were flirting with me."
"Nah," he said sitting back. He looked completely unruffled.
"You're not my type," he continued.
I blushed. "Oh."
Elliarno winked. "Besides, I'm a lot older than you I guess."
I looked at him. "You only look a couple of years older than me."
Elliarno smiled. "I'm 17, Dil. You don't mind me call you Dil, right?"
"Dil?" I chuckle. "That's so not like Daffodil in any way, shape or form."
"Daffo Dil, yep, it sounds like the last part of your name" he said, leaning forwards.
I leant backwards. "Okay, it really freaks me out when you lean towards me like that."
"Why?" he asked, his voice light.
"Well, it's like you're about to kiss me." I looked away in embarrassment. "Despite what you said."
"Don't worry, Dil. You're safe from me. I don't love" he said, leaning back and closing his eyes.
I frowned. "Oh... But why not?"
"I just get used" he says simply.
"I wouldn't use you," I said reproachfully.
"Yeah, that's what she said." Elliarno leant against the window and looked out with a pain-filled expression.
I reached out and stroked his arm. "I'm so sorry," I whispered. A little louder, I said "But I'm not like that. I promise. Why would I push away my one chance to be loved when my life has been so lonely until this point?"
Elliarno sighed and looked at me, a smile bright on his face. "Thanks, Dil, but you're much too young."
I scowled and pulled back my arm. "I'm only 14."
"Excuses," I muttered. "Ageist."
Elliarno laughed. He then let an arm slide around my waist.
"Am I?" he asked, his face close to mine.
I looked up into his eyes, trembling slightly. "Not if you look at me like this."
Elliarno smirked. "Now we are flirting," he chuckled.
"I c-can't help it," I stammered.
"Oh, look, our train." Elliarno jumped up.
"We've not got tickets," I protested. "Elliarno!"
"Why don't we just buy some then?"
"Yes but that train is going to leave. So let's be patient here." In a barely audible tone, I muttered "You totally ruined the moment too."
He winked. "I still don't know you that well, Dil." He offered me his hand.
I took it and stood up, sighing.
I looked away from him as we trudged towards the ticket kiosk and bought two tickets for London Kings Cross.
He slipped his hand into mine and surprised me by pulling me into a hug as we waited on the platform
I took a deep breath and told Elliarno my life story.
"I was left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby. I was given my name because there was a daffodil lying on me in the basket. I wanted to run away because I felt alone since everyone teased me for liking reading and writing poem. I'm sensitive and sometimes I just cry at the beauty or tragedy of some aspect of the world, regardless of how impersonal it is. I love 'His Dark Materials'. I'd really love to find my equivalent to Lyra's Will."
I looked down, afraid of his reaction.
From the corner of my eyes, I could see that Elliarno looked shocked. He stroked my cheek.
"I think poems are beautiful and to have a poetic soul is beautiful."
"Are you saying that I have a poetic soul?" I asked, looking up, confused.
"Yes, you have a poetic, sweet, honest, innocent soul. Well, that's what I think."
I beamed. "Thank you, El." I looked away again as I asked, frowning, "D'you know why I told you all that?"
"Why?" he asked.
"Well, 1) because I trust you and there's something about you that I'm inexplicably drawn to, and 2) because I hope that you won't tell me you hardly know me anymore."
"Okay, Dil. I know you" he whispered before lightly kissing my forehead.
I breathed deeply, closing my eyes.
Elliarno then pulled back, smiling at me. "How long for that train?"
"An hour. We're going to miss the next one," I said, pulling him over to the bench and snuggling up to him. I kissed the bare part of his chest above his shirt. I was shocked by my forwardness but his kiss had been so gratifying, so comforting and so almost tear-jerking in its beauty that I would treasure the memory for ever and strive to make El feel the same special feelings he had brought me.
El stroked my hair.
"Miss the next one?" he suddenly asked confused.
"Hmm," I said. "I want this moment to last a few minutes longer."
"Okay, Dil" he said, rocking me in his arms.
I sighed contentedly and was not surprised when a few tears leaked down the sides of my face.
El pulled back, shocked. "Dil, why are you crying?"
I looked up at him, smiling through my tears. "Because you've filled the hole in my chest."