It was precisely 10:05 pm when Yerin woke up to the shrill ringing of her mobile phone beside her face, the screen flashing with an unknown number. It took a moment for her to blink herself awake, slowly rising from the couch where she had fallen asleep curled up in an uncomfortable half-sitting, half-reclining position, and stretching her arms out above her head with a wince.
The living room was enveloped in darkness with only the blue light of the late-night news on the tv screen illuminating the sitting area. Yerin stared into the dark for a few seconds, trying to recall why she was sleeping on the couch as her brain struggled to wake up. Her gaze fell towards her dishevelled cocktail dress, it's satin skirt crumpled, and Yerin was suddenly all too aware of what was going on. And she was fuming.
Jimin had spent the morning apologising profusely for being called into work the weekend of their wedding anniversary, despite Yerin assuring him repeatedly it was okay. They had been married for three years, and Yerin understood how much his job as the co-owner of a dance academy meant to him, despite the sinking feeling in her chest of having to spend their anniversary alone at home. To make it up to her, Jimin had promised he would be home by 8.30 pm to pick her up and had told her to dress fancy for the special anniversary dinner he had planned for them tonight.
Yerin had been jittery with excitement all day. She had taken an extra long bath and pampered herself with scented oils and face masks. She had exfoliated and shaved every inch of her body and spent almost 2 hours on hair and makeup alone. She had slipped into the white, cocktail dress she had bought over a few months ago and had stored safely in the back of her closet for today in particular. It was off-shoulder with a lace bodice, exactly Jimin's type and she couldn't wait for him to see her in it.
Yerin frowned as she noticed the fabric of the dress wrinkled by her sleeping state and her hair, which she had spent almost an hour tying back in an elegant updo, falling loosely in her face. She glanced at her phone, still ringing beside her and felt her anger spike. She swiped it swiftly from the couch, inhaling sharply as she answered the call with pursed lips and waited for Jimin to start apologising on the other side of the line immediately. The voice that greeted her instead was unexpected.
"This is Officer Kim calling from Gangdong police station, Am I speaking to Mrs Park?"
The voice was gravelly and deep, completely different from Jimin's soft, cheerful one and Yerin instantly felt all her anger dissipate at the unexpected sound. She sat up straighter, pressing the phone harder against her ear as an eery feeling began to settle in her chest.
"Yes?" She managed to choke out, her voice almost a whisper as she gnawed at her bottom lip anxiously. A hundred different scenarios rushed through her mind. Had Jimin been arrested? Was he in trouble? Did she need to bail him out? Was he hurt? The last thought had her heart clenching painfully.
"You were listed as Mr Park Jimin's emergency contact. He was in a car accident near Gangdong and has been rushed KHU Hospital in critical condition..."
The rest of his sentence was drowned out by the loud thudding of her heartbeat in her ears. Yerin felt her whole world come crashing down at her feet.