'If Buffy answers, just hang up,' he says. He may as well have added 'or she will kill you'

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I remember the first time I saw her. We were at some dank, stuffy club, and tears were streaming from my eyes because of all the cigarette smoke. She was at the front of the bar queue, even though she was the shortest person in there. Her cropped copper hair looked like tiny flames licking at her forehead. A Stella in each hand, she pushed her way out of the crowd, squealing "Excuse me, excuse me," in a dinky Glasgow accent.

I tapped her on the shoulder. "Are you Buffy?" She gazed at me disdainfully. Later, she apologised. "It was just weird that you knew who I was. Like everyone in London is saying, 'Oh, there's that Scottish midget'. " I knew who she was. Buffy is an old-fashioned "it" girl, like Twiggy and Drew Barrymore. Grace laughs and says, "What, like 'It' the killer clown in the Stephen King book?" I giggle nervously and murmur "kind of". She might as well be. I have never been dumped before. Not by a girl. Not over a boy.

On her 21st birthday, I made her a Drew Barrymore collage. I had known her for about two weeks. "Why do you like her so much?" demanded Jon, one of those guys who prides himself on his understanding of the female psyche and gets his research by shagging a different girl every week. "Because she's as short as me and she hates all the same girls I do. Why do you like her so much?" He grinned. "Because she can take her drink. When girls are drunk, they either get all upset and cry or they get over- excited. She stays controlled." "Why haven't you tried to sleep with her?" "Because of what I just said."

Buffy never seemed like a real girl's girl. I remember her grimacing at the sight of my mates drunkenly cuddling and declaring their love for each other. "You and your middle-class lesbian friends," she sneered. The first sign of female camaraderie I saw from her was when she broke up with her boyfriend. She rang me, weeping, from a phone box and said she couldn't face the office, so could she come over? I took the day off work to comfort her.

Her boyfriend is putting on a brave face. "I hate clever little tomboys. I'm only going to go with stupid tall people from now on." Around the same time, I split up with Steve, who Buffy works with. Except we didn't split up properly and, though we're not going out, we covertly keep seeing each other. This is about the third time it's happened and when Buffy found out, she went bananas. She considers all this to-ing and fro-ing supremely undignified, selfish on my part, bad for Steve and therefore bad for the office.

She stopped ringing me and then Grace bumped into her at a gig. "Where's your horrible flatmate? Tell her to stay away from me. If she comes anywhere near me, I'll belt her." But Buffy, I'm not evil, I'm just indecisive. She doesn't know that because she won't take my calls.

The next week, I spotted her at a party. "Look, I'm just going to go up and ask how she is. What's she going to do?" Sally, a mutual friend, prone to overdramatics, begged me not to. "Please, no. I've just spoken to her and if you try to talk to her, something terrible is going to happen. Just stay away. I don't want you to get hurt."

I ask Steve if it's still all right to ring him at the office. "Yes, but if Buffy answers, just hang up." He may as well have added, "or she will kill you".

Saturday night and I accompany Steve to the club he's DJ-ing at. We get there before it opens so I have the whole place to dance around in while Steve tests out how that Underworld remix sounds. I hate clubs. I don't get it. All that standing around, too cool to dance, records you don't want to hear. But obviously I just don't like other people because, until the club opens its doors, I am having the time of my life.

I go outside to get some air. That's when she turns up. What can I do, but say hello?

"All right, Buffy - how are you?" She looks over my shoulder and pushes straight past me. She still looks short as hell and cool as f***. But I am now just another one of those girls she hates. "You need to have a massive fight," says Grace, chewing on a slice of bacon. "Besides. You two fighting - it would look really funny." Come and have a go if you think you are short enough.

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