She could even remember the dress she had been wearing when it happened.

It was a pink patterned dress that Caroline had told her looked just like a designer one she had seen in a magazine. Josie's finances didn't run to designer stuff, not with the rent to find on the flat now that she had moved out of her parents' house, but loads of shops were doing reasonable imitations for a fraction of the price. Caroline had told her that she looked like a model in it. Caroline said lots of stuff.

Josie didn't kid herself that she was model material. Of course she'd give her eye teeth to look like Twiggy, or even Pattie Boyd. Heck, Pattie Boyd had ended up married to George Harrison and that wasn't to be sneezed at. He didn't get the attention that Paul and John got, but he had a mischievous twinkle in his eye that said he would be good fun on a night out, and Josie had always quite fancied him. But she was pretty enough when she made the effort and she and Caroline turned plenty of heads when they went out on the town.

She was going shopping up to Oxford Street with Caroline that afternoon; maybe Kings Road too, if their feet held out. Her wages were more Top Shop or Chelsea Girl than Kings Road and Carnaby Street, but a girl could look. Maybe she'd find something for Shelley's hen night in a couple of weeks.

Shelley and Pete getting married; who would have thought that one would last? Scatterbrained Shelley and nice but not very bright Pete. Josie was going to need something to wear for the hen night that signalled "available, but not slutty" to any single men she happened to meet, or the "plus one" on her wedding invitation was likely to go to waste. Mr Right was taking his time finding her and in the meantime there wasn't even a Mr Wrong on the horizon, not since Rich.

They were planning on heading down to Soho after – hitting a couple of bars. If they were lucky they'd even get their drinks paid for – meet a couple of lads with their Friday's wages burning a hole in their pocket.

Another sip of coffee on her way out to the bedroom. Black, no sugar – her usual way to start the day.

Josie paused to check her reflection in the mirror. Yes, the dress really did suit her. That was what made shopping with Caroline such fun. She had a great eye and could always pick out the thing you would pass over on the rack but that would make you look fantastic, and she was a generous enough friend to call your attention to it. Not hide it at the back of the rack like certain other girls she could mention, who would let you go out looking like a dog's breakfast to make themselves look better.

Like the twins Alison and Amanda upstairs - Josie had been friends with them for a while, before she had caught Alison two-timing with her boyfriend – maybe Amanda as well, for all she knew. Turned out blondes were more his type after all. She hadn't seen Rich around for ages so she figured he'd moved on again. That suited Josie: no more awkward looking-anywhere-but-at-him moments when they passed on the stairs, trying not to brush against each other. No more trying not to hear the noises from upstairs.

From the racket last night she reckoned one of them must have a new chap on the go; it had sounded like they were practising for the sex Olympics. Pulling the blankets over her head hadn't helped and nor had burying her head under the pillows, but the ruckus had finally died down about three, leaving the house suddenly, eerily quiet, just when Josie had been considering pulling on her dressing gown and going to bash on their door. She wondered who the bloke was – if she knew him. The new stud.

She smirked. Stud? Alison should be so lucky. Plenty of men out there who thought they were God's gift, but precious few who did more than a quick screw and onto the next girl. Sexual liberation was all well and good - it meant that the girls had an excuse to behave as the men always had – but it didn't seem to be doing much to help on the steady relationship front.

Maybe she was just too choosy, but there were some nutters out there and a girl needed to be sure she wasn't inviting a psycho back for coffee. How the hell were you meant to tell the maniacs anyway? The ones that had killed those poor little kids had looked pretty normal. Christ. It wasn't like they had it tattooed across their foreheads.

She went back to the kitchen for another gulp of coffee and poured out a bowl of cornflakes; "The best to you each morning". They tasted like little pieces of cardboard and needed a load of sugar on them to make them even vaguely edible, but she still bought them. They reminded her pleasantly of home - a cup of coffee and some cornflakes before she went out to school. Josie opened the fridge, pulled out the milk and sniffed suspiciously at it. Still good, but only an inch or so left at the bottom of the bottle. That was fine; the milkman always left a pint on Saturday mornings.

She opened the front door. A man was standing there, looking out of the landing window with her pint of milk in his hand and a hint of it on his lips. He started guiltily, looking at her with an intensity that shook her to her core.

He shot another troubled glance out of the window – what was out there that he was so worried about? She could hear car doors slamming: far more car doors than she would expect in their quiet neighbourhood on a Saturday morning. Before she could react – pull back inside the door and close it in his face - he had her by the chin, pushing her inside and slamming her up against the wall. His dark eyes were wild and dangerous mere inches from hers.

"If I take my hand away, are you going to scream?"