Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 7
It’s an hour of relationships. Those beginning and those ending, some false and some as yet unrealized. It makes for an interesting character hour as our heroine discovers that just because her heart was broken, it hasn’t stopped fluttering.
EPISODE 7:”Tell Her I’m Waiting Here”
Though startled by Seo-joon’s sudden invitation for a dinner date, Dan-yi promises to meet him in ten minutes and rushes off. Eun-ho’s mood dips further when he realizes Dan-yi left the book he’d given her behind.
As everyone else knocks off work, Ji-hong texts ex-wife Seong-ah, also hoping for a dinner date. Alas, Seong-ah ignores the invite and instead seeks out a partner to go clubbing. Everyone politely declines and since Seong-ah won’t acknowledge Ji-hong’s solitary hand in the air, she heads home for the evening.
Dan-yi also tries to take her leave, but Eun-ho is struck with a sudden pettiness and assigns her some extra work that just can’t wait. Meanwhile, Seo-joon is still waiting outside as rookies Hoon and Ji-yul leave. Hoon invites Ji-yul to dinner, but she shoots him down to meet with friends.
Checking over Dan-yi’s work, Eun-ho guesses it was Seo-joon that called her out. She grumbles that held her back because he knew, then warns him there’s no food at home so he’ll have to eat out.
Dan-yi smacks on some lipstick while waiting for the elevator. Joining her, Eun-ho says that it’s cold and wraps his scarf around her. She meets Seo-joon downstairs and Eun-ho coolly warns Dan-yi not to stay out late, but watches sadly as they walk away.
Hoon sits down for dinner alone at home when there’s a sudden knock on the door. The visitors claim to be real-estate agents, but the glam woman and her assistant who push their way inside hardly seem interested in the property. She identifies herself as Ji-yul’s mother and is stunned when Hoon doesn’t seem afraid.
Hoon proudly answers Ji-yul’s mom’s questions about his living situation, his siblings, and his parents, Mom’s dissatisfaction growing with every response. She tearfully suggests he’s after their family money and Hoon turns the dramatics up to eleven, crying that he only cares about Ji-yul.
Mom screeches for him to break up immediately, but Hoon threatens to run away with Ji-yul if Mom persists. Sinking to the floor he sobs for her to just let them be together (and to please take off their shoes, hee).
Arriving home, Eun-ho fidgets anxiously and starts to dial Dan-yi only for his rational side to materialize across the room and chide him for his lame behavior. Eun-ho whines what should he do, then, and Rational Eun-ho suggests they think on it.
Meanwhile, Seo-joon takes Dan-yi to a small, independent bookstore. He likes how personal it is Dan-yi agrees she prefers it to the big commercial stores. Dan-yi steps away to smile at a sudden flood of texts from Eun-ho.
At a restaurant, Seo-joon pulls out the book Dan-yi had been looking at in the store. She smiles at the inscription he’d added about their date and Seo-joon presents her with his finished painting. Dan-yi clarifies whether they’re just friends and Seo-joon insists that he wants to date her.
Dan-yi feels he should know that she’s divorced and Seo-joon’s expression freezes as his silverware clatters to the floor. Oy vey…
Eun-ho is startled awake as Dan-yi angrily flops onto the couch next to him. He’s confused when she confesses that she told Seo-joon she’s divorced and he reacted poorly, but is pleased Dan-yi favors his response. In his own home, Seo-joon wallows over the evening’s events, thinking back to Dan-yi’s expression when he dropped the cutlery.
Seo-joon had quickly tried to backpedal, claiming to suffer from carpel tunnel. Unfortunately, Dan-yi’s next bomb–her 12 year old daughter, Jae-hee–results in a spit-take. In the present, Eun-ho cheerfully declares Seo-joon is no good while Seo-joon kicks himself for picking that moment to cough.
There’s more, however, because Dan-yi had also told Seo-joon her true age, guessing that the gap between them was pretty big. Seo-joon attempts to brush it off, but is cut off by a sudden onslaught of hiccups. After that, they’d taken a cab and Dan-yi had declined Seo-joon’s offer to walk her home.
Beaming, Eun-ho tells Dan-yi not to waste her time on such a loser. Dan-yi nods sadly, guessing Seo-joon won’t call her, anyway. Eun-ho face falls as Dan-yi admits she had started to develop feelings for Seo-joon, grumbling at her poor taste in men. As she shuffles off to her room, Eun-ho looks at the painting and the book Seo-joon had given her and mulls over her words.
When she returns, Eun-ho tells Dan-yi not to be bothered by Seo-joon. Dan-yi admits she understands his feelings, thinking Eun-ho would feel the same way if he found out he was pursuing a much older, divorced, single mother. Eun-ho declares that none of those things ever bothered him… and Dan-yi assumes he’s talking about some other older, divorced, single mother and tells him to snap out of it. Hehe.
Determined, Eun-ho asks, “What if I keep liking her?” Dan-yi snaps at him to come to his senses and Eun-ho yips back that he just has, screeching she’s too dumb to understand his feelings, anyway.
It’s business as usual during the morning meeting until Ji-hong (who’s sitting dramatically on the windowsill) starts reciting poetry. While everyone else ignores it, one team member explains to Hoon and Ji-yul that Ji-hong has a “poetry illness” and will periodically insist on publishing poetry despite it always losing money.
Jumping up, Ji-hong declares this time is different… and hands out water purifier brochures. Everyone quickly clears out and Ji-hong follows Jae-min back to his office. The person selling the purifiers is one of Ji-hong’s poet buddies and he begs Jae-min to buy one to support a struggling artist.
Jae-min snaps at Ji-hong to stop focusing so much on helping others, and worry about the people around him. Instead of Ji-hong’s brother in jail, or his brother’s kids, Jae-min barks that Ji-hong should’ve been more concerned about his own wife and children. He’s sick of Ji-hong insisting they publish poetry when it never profits, and orders him to grow up.
Ji-hong hangs his head and shuffles out of the office, passing ex-wife Yeong-ah at the door. Since the meeting was cut short, Yeong-ah hands her report to Jae-min to review. Afterwards, however, she asks to speak with him as a friend and nails him for berating Ji-hong when he’s having a hard time.
Yeong-ah tells Jae-min that he doesn’t need to comply with any of Ji-hong’s requests, but he doesn’t have the right to lecture him. She cries that she divorced Ji-hong, not because he was a bad person, but simply because it had become exhausting to be his wife. Ashamed, Jae-min offers her a tissue and after Yeong-ah leaves the office, also begins sobbing.
In the break-room, Ji-yul marvels at the affect Hoon had on her mother after their meeting. Hoon urges Ji-yul to take this opportunity to find her freedom, offering to continue their dating ruse in the meantime. Thrilled, Ji-yul pulls him into a hug (or three) but pulls away when Hoon hugs her back.
Dan-yi approaches Yeong-ah with an idea for the company blog. She wants to present books in a power point style and when Yeong-ah and Hae-rin approve, Dan-yi asks to be in charge of uploading the content. Her request is granted, and Yeong-ah starts to ask her to the club in exchange, but Dan-yi isn’t dressed to go out so they take a rain-check.
Jae-min sees Ji-hong is scheduled for a lunch meeting with Poet Choi and confronts him, unsure why he’s buying someone lunch if they’re not publishing his works. Ji-hong argues they can still consider his prose, but Jae-min refuses.
Ji-hong snaps that Jae-min is too focused on money and vows to buy an expensive lunch out of his own pocket. He chides Jae-min for being inhumane and storms out. Eun-ho calms Jae-min and runs after Ji-hong, handing his own credit card over to pay for the meal.
Eun-ho adds that he’ll help Ji-hong get Poet Choi’s prose published and Ji-hong wonders if they’ll ever publish poetry. Eun-ho gently points out that poetry just isn’t profitable and Ji-hong laments that it’s a dying industry. Eun-ho promises to join him and Poet Choi after his meeting.
Ji-hong calls Poet Choi but gets his voicemail. He tells him where to meet and sits down to wait at the restaurant. Back at the office, Dan-yi thinks about Seo-joon’s reaction to her confessions, frustrated that he still hasn’t called.
At the same time, Seo-joon sits in a hospital waiting area, his finger hovering over the call button. Unfortunately, he can’t think of what to say and is soon called away by a nurse (as the guardian of another patient–presumably his mother).
Eun-ho loads up a shopping cart while Ji-hong finishes his drink at the restaurant. He tries calling Poet Choi again to no avail, and sets out to visit his home. Eun-ho is already there, unloading groceries from his trunk and the two men carry them up to the rooftop apartment.
The landlady calls out to them and, noting Eun-ho’s expensive attire, casually mentions Poet Choi is three months behind on his rent. She’s also brought food for the poet and the trio knock on the door.
There’s no answer, so the landlady unlocks the door and Ji-hong stumbles backwards in shock. Jae-min answers a call from Ji-hong and apologizes for their spat. He tells Ji-hong go ahead and expense the lunch and that they should publish Poet Choi’s prose… but Ji-hong chokes out that Poet Choi is dead.
Ji-hong blames himself for not treating him to a better meal last time they met, or checking up on him sooner. He flashes back to their last meeting, where Poet Choi had complained that someone had uploaded his entire poetry book on the internet, his voice trembling as he notes that he’d be rich if he could even make 100 won (10 cents) a poem.
Ji-hong:“Sometimes, he realized he was writing poems that no one was interested in, but he had to keep going. Poems knocked on his heart every day, and he had to write them down on paper. That’s who he was, and that was how he could live. But just like that, the world lost a beautiful person.”
Later, at the office, Yeong-ah stares at Ji-hong’s empty desk, snapping out of it when Dan-yi approaches to report her progress with the blog content. Jae-min eyes Ji-hong’s desk and Hae-rin tells him it’s been 4 days. He asks Yeong-ah if she’s tried calling him, but she keeps her eyes glued to her work as she nonchalantly replies “no.”
Hae-rin drops a stack of papers on Ji-yul’s desk and tells her to read through the poetry submissions and write up a report. Ji-yul asks how and Hae-rin snaps that she has no intention of wasting time teaching Ji-yul when she’s not passionate about her job.
Ji-yul wonders how Hae-rin can judge whether or not she’s passionate. “If you wanted to learn, you’d look up and study the reports written by senior colleagues instead of asking me!” Hae-rin barks. Ji-yul starts to ask where to find the reports but Hae-rin’s glare silences her.
Dan-yi scribbles a note to Ji-yul to follow her and leads her to the library. Ji-yul glances over a report and thinks it looks easy. Since there’s a lot to go through, Dan-yi offers to help. Ji-yul notes Dan-yi goes above and beyond her job as a temp and Dan-yi smiles, “Everything I learn will come in handy one day.”
In the break room, Hae-rin complains to Eun-ho about one of her writers that’s missed her deadline. Eun-ho tells her to be patient, since the person most upset about missing the deadline is actually the writer.
Changing the subject, Hae-rin invites Eun-ho to dinner. Eun-ho declines, as he has plans. Snapping her fingers in front of his face, Hae-rin attempts to hypnotize him into agreeing. Eun-ho returns the gesture, insisting that he has plans.
Seo-joon places an order to the flower shop as Eun-ho interviews author Yoo Myeong-seok on his podcast. The bouquet is done just as Seo-joon arrives at the flower shop, but Hae-rin stands and claims it as hers.
The shopkeeper confirms it, but recognizing Seo-joon, Hae-rin insists he take the bouquet, adding that he owes her now. After he leaves, Hae-rin cancels the second bouquet and follows after him.
In a private room at a fancy restaurant, Eun-ho presents Author Yoo with expensive cosmetics for her birthday gift. A waitress comes and he places an order for two, but smiling sneakil,y Author Yoo says to make it four.
Seo-joon stops outside the restaurant to ask Hae-rin why she’s following him. He eyes her suspiciously when she denies it and Hae-rin balks, “Did you think I was a pervert.” Taken aback, Seo-joon says he didn’t, but Hae-rin insists that he now owes her a second favor for his mistake and stalks past him. Hee.
Of course, she’s headed for Author Yu’s birthday dinner and smirks that she’d told Eun-ho they’d have dinner together. Seo-joon walks in next and Hae-rin grins, “Fancy meeting you here.”
Seo-joon hands the bouquet to Author Yoo and asks if the bundle on the table is her manuscript. He reaches for it only to be strongly rebuffed by Eun-ho and Hae-rin, who point out that he’s from a different company.
Author Yoo laughs at the banter and announces she wants Seo-joon to design her book cover. Seo-joon says he’ll decide after seeing how they treat him and Hae-rin points out he owes her 2 favors. Eun-ho declares he also hasn’t decided yet, and levels Seo-joon with a glare.
After dinner, the women head home and Seo-joon suggests Eun-ho give him a ride, since they’re neighbors. He adds that he wants to see Dan-yi and has a present for her.
Eun-ho bluntly replies that he doesn’t want Seo-joon to see Dan-yi but Seo-joon is adamant. Eun-ho suggests that Seo-joon’s reaction during the date was his subconscious rejecting Dan-yi. Undeterred, Seo-joon hops into the car.
Pulling up to the house, Eun-ho hopes that Dan-yi isn’t home. As Seo-joon gets out, Eun-ho wishes he’d thrown away his conscience and refused Seo-joon a ride, noting that he’ll definitely regret it. Seo-joon asks Eun-ho to give Dan-yi his gift and tell her he’s waiting.
Inside, Eun-ho skirts Dan-yi and escapes to his room. He mutters that Seo-joon can wait all night. Pulling out the gift–a large stuffed green onion–Eun-ho shoves it into his closet… thereby summoning his rational apparition again.
Rational Eun-ho points out that Dan-yi likes Seo-joon. “Love isn’t about possession,” Rational Eun-ho says, “You can’t have her just because you want her.” Eun-ho argues that he’s already regretted letting her go once. He refuses to let her go again, but Rational Eun-ho reminds him how Dan-yi has been staring at her phone waiting for Seo-joon to call.
Eun-ho exits his bedroom and shoves the stuffed green onion at Dan-yi, telling her it’s from Seo-joon and he’s waiting outside. Dan-yi brightens and asks if she looks okay before running out the door. Dan-yi greets Seo-joon and they both smile as Eun-ho looks on from the window.
Ask and ye shall receive! I wanted more Seo-joon and the show has delivered. I find Seo-joon to be such a pleasantly quirky character but when his smile fades, I can’t help but wonder what dark secrets he’s hiding. This hour we learned he has a sickly mother, but the show is stingy with Seo-joon’s story. I’m surprised how quickly the relationship between Dan-yi and Seo-joon has come around. I had originally thought he would be just a pleasant, but ultimately bland, too-perfect second lead. I’m glad that’s not the case, and considering the way the show has handled characters and relationships thus far, I should hardly be surprised.
I’m curious how this will play out going forward, though. Dan-yi is unwittingly breaking Eun-ho’s heart a second time and because he puts her happiness above his own, he’s letting her. If our two leads are meant to end up together, something is going to have to give. I do think Seo-joon genuinely likes Dan-yi, but the fiasco at the restaurant gives weight to Eun-ho’s argument that Seo-joon’s having some trouble accepting Dan-yi’s background. I have a feeling his connection with Eun-ho’s father and dogged pursuit of what happened is going to shoot him in the foot, but we shall see.
Is it bad that I’m really digging the dynamic between Seo-joon and Hae-rin? I’ve never been a fan of second leads pairing up (since most often it’s just a lazy way to wrap everything up in a big happy bow) but there is a definite chemistry between Seo-joon and Hae-rin. Of all the characters, they’re the only two that have experienced a proper meet-cute. I adore Hae-rin and I just want her to be happy so badly. Unfortunately, that’s not possible with Eun-ho, whose heart has always belonged to Dan-yi and shows no signs of changing in the future.
I enjoyed Eun-ho’s inner turmoil this episode as he literally argued with himself over how to deal with his feelings towards Dan-yi. Despite his declaration last week that he doesn’t want to tell her how he feels until she reciprocates, Eun-ho is feeling a lot of pressure since the appearance of a rival. It had to hurt, how easily Dan-yi seemed to push him aside in favor of Seo-joon. It doesn’t help that try as he might, their close relationship seems to actually work against him.
Dan-yi is grateful to Eun-ho, but after being so close for so long, it’s natural to take their relationship for granted. Whenever he expresses affection or care, she interprets it as that of a younger sibling. Eun-ho has loved Dan-yi for a long time, but always held back at the last minute, falling back on her belief that they’re just friends. It has become their norm and Dan-yi is now incapable of understanding his feelings beyond that carefully crafted narrative.
It breaks my heart on the occasions when Eun-ho musters the courage to speak to Dan-yi frankly, praying that she’ll respond in kind… only to be shot down because she’s misinterpreted his meaning. After her disastrous date with Seo-joon, Eun-ho tried to convey that he’s never once been bothered by their age gap, that she was married to someone else, or that she has a child–because to him, she’ll always be the woman he fell in love with. But Dan-yi either can’t or won’t acknowledge his intention. It’s become a pattern with Eun-ho’s serious moments being written off and I can’t decide whether Dan-yi is just dense, or purposefully ignoring it. Either way, Eun-ho has a tough road ahead of him.
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