Soon our new album has been released, so we didn’t have much time to think about the numbers. Or so we thought.
Detective Grumpy (Heejun’s idea and I love it) had his own world and was making us to help him with the mystery whenever HE got the time. Our manager and staff couldn’t do a thing to support us in this, because Grumpy was after all a detective, so he had more power than an entertainment company. Well, we didn’t mind, if we were to help him, but he appeared always when we were with our fans, so soon many of them started to wonder what was that about. Yeah, we could tell the world the truth, but then our families would know about everything and our career would end (I meant the fuss our families would do, we were adults after all and we could take care of ourselves... Unless there is some madman, who was hunting us). Not to mention the culprit himself, who could get madder if the whole world knew about him.
One day, in early November, Grumpy came to us before our comeback performance. He burst into the waiting room like a storm, scaring the hell out of me. I spat the coffee at him, that I had been calmly drinking. We all stiffened in moment. I bit my lip, waiting for his explosion. But thankfully this time he dried up himself calmly, saying, “If I didn’t know you, I would think you were waiting for me to do this.”
“How could I dare,” I said with serious face.
Only members heard the sarcasm and tried hard not to laugh.
“What brings you here this time, detective?” manager asked.
“News! I brought you news.”
“I’m sorry, but not now,” manager said sharply, pushing us out of the room. “They have an important performance now. You can tell them after that.”
“Oh. Alright.” Grumpy stuffed his cheeks with chips, that were on a table, and raised his thumb up. If I didn’t know him, I would think he was wishing us luck.
“What if it was more important?” Inseong caught up with manager. “He’s not usually this... bright.”
“If it was bad news, he would tell that,” manager insisted.
“But bad news, if we’re talking about this detective, can be good news for him. Catching the criminal is like a Christmas present for him. Of course he would be happy, if there was bad news for us.” I said.
Manager was thinking about my words, till we got behind the stage.
“Calm down and think only about the performance, okay?” he said and left us.
We gathered together, did our modest ‘fighting’ and went up. I saw a glimpse of Grumpy, who was hiding behind the speaker.
The performance was success so far. However, when I leaned out from the stage to our fans, to greet them, suddenly someone caught my collar and I heard a grisly whisper:
“Did you solve it?”
Then I was pulled from the stage. I fell on my back, losing breath for a second. Fans in a second gathered around me worried, but that didn’t help me at all, because they were stepping on my hands and feet.
My breath was getting heavier and heavier. I thought that I hurt myself again, but I was that panicked that I couldn’t breathe. Because of the fear, I couldn’t stand up properly and I fell again.
“Out of the way!” I heard unclear, familiar voice like from underwater. Someone jumped down beside me, startling fans. “Hey, snap out of it, kiddo!”
I came to my senses quickly and grabbed Grumpy by his coat.
“H-He’s here!” I gasped.
“What!?” He looked around. “Damn, too many kids! Are you sure?”
He pushed me back on the stage, where members took me. Grumpy stayed in the same spot, beside the stage, and we finished our performance without more adventures.
Backstage Grumpy jerked me, taking aside.
“Hey, easy!” Youjin freed me from him. “You’re okay?” he asked me.
“Yeah, just bruises...” I looked at detective. “Did you find him?”
“How?” he snorted. “Blame yourselves for being too famous and having so many kids around you!”
Wow, now he was blaming our job and fans for everything. What a great guy.
“Have you really met him?” Heejun said.
“Not met, I heard him. That was his voice, I’m sure of it. He asked if I solved it...”
We were silent for a moment. Meanwhile manager ran to us and wanted to say something, but first he needed to catch a breath.
“So he’s observing you,” Grumpy thought out loud. “Sneaky little bastard.”
“Why I have the feeling that he’s in a hurry?” I said slowly. “He knows that we’re solving it gradually, but still he’s playing on our psyche and hurrying us up.”
“Maybe he has the urge to kill another person?” Inseong muttered.
“That may be the case!” Grumpy said excited.
“I was joking, you know.”
“Guys, let’s first change, okay?” I said.
“Well, you MUST hurry up, because we need to go somewhere,” Grumpy said.
“Why I have a bad feeling about it?” I grumbled.
And of course, it was a hospital. What was worse, a mortuary.
“You’re joking, right?” I blurted, moving back. The smell was worse than... Well, you know.
Grumpy showed us to a single body, that was literally waiting for our arrival.
“Why are we here again?” Youjin said through teeth. I squeezed his arm, hiding behind him.
“For our second clue,” Grumpy said happily. He uncovered the face. We screamed. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“What part of it!?” I hissed, closing my eyes and fighting with my mad stomach.
“We identified the victim,” Grumpy said, gaining a little of our attention, although none of us looked at the body. “Choi Seoyun, thirty four, almost married. Her fiancé is coming back from the U.S. tomorrow. We’re going to question him.”
“Okay, but why are you telling us this?” I said. “Not to mention, that we didn’t have to come here –”
“You’re wrong, kiddo. You’re a part of it, whether you want it or not.” He suddenly got serious, which startled us a little. “You’re going with me to her fiancé. To be honest, only Jihun has to come, but –”
“Forget it,” Seungjun said sharply, what was not like him. “We’re going together.”
Grumpy shrugged. I’ve gotten teary, but I didn’t know whether it was because of Seungjun’s words, or this horrible smell, that was getting worse and worse.
“What a fine end of the day,” I grumbled, glancing at the corpse in disgust.