Jo Yihwan’s head felt like a ton of bricks.
He was in bed, recovering from a week-long bout with the flu and desperately trying to stay in touch with his band mates. They were on the other end of the phone call he was now party to, and he could not believe he actually wished he was witnessing the hot mess going on over there. Wherever they were.
“Steven’s sausage fell out of the bun,” Fi Legaspi, East Genesis Project’s manager, explained after a few seconds of nothing but enraged yelling mixed with boisterous laughter. “And hold on to that lewd joke for another day. Minchan is livid Steven wasted a perfectly good sausage.”
“Accidentally!” Yihwan heard their drummer, Steven Bae, point out. “It was that quick swerve just now!”
Song Minchan, their vocalist and youngest member, must have been seated somewhere at the back of their service van, because his voice sounded muffled when he yelled, “You should have guarded it with your life! You had one job!”
“Oh, shut up! It’s not even your sausage!”
The band leader meant to laugh. How could he not? But the otherwise jovial noise came out sounding like a cross between a pig’s snort and a smoker’s cough. Cough and clogged nose combo, you win.
“Quiet down now. Chan-ah, could you hold the phone for me while I help Steven pick up the mess?”
A short pause, then: “Hyung…don’t think I didn’t hear you hacking just now.” Minchan’s voice sounded clearer this time around. “I don’t think you’re ready for the shoot this weekend.”
“The drips are helping me get better. I’ll be fine.”
“We can postpone it to next week, Yihwan-ah,” Fi said. “We are ahead of schedule—you don’t have to worry.”
Groaning, Yihwan closed his eyes and leaned against his pillow. How convenient that he had to be sick now when they were in the middle of comeback preparations. Their schedules were getting packed by the day, and being the cause of delay stressed him out.
Yihwan strained his ears when he heard another voice from the far end of the vehicle. Something about a seatbelt. Or seatbelts.
“Everything okay over there?”
“Ne, hyung. Yukwon hyung just—”
The next thing Yihwan heard was a collective, shocked yell from his colleagues, followed by the grating noise of metal hitting cement. Then, a crash.
And finally, nothing.