Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 9
We’ve passed the half-way point and it’s time our heroine got some answers from our hero. However, the answers Eun-ho has to give, might not be what Dan-yi is ready to hear.
EPISODE 9:”It’s Like Reading That Old Book For The First Time”
Hae-rin and Seo-joon marvel at the snow and then instantly text their respective crushes. Both go unanswered, however, as said crushes, Eun-ho and Dan-yi, are enjoying the snow together outside. Eun-ho’s comment on the beautiful snow triggers Dan-yi’s memory to his similar observation of the moon and the implied meaning, “I love you.”
Dan-yi flashes back to the night she’d told Eun-ho it made sense for a man to be turned off by an older, divorced single-mother, and he’d soberly replied that it never bothered him. Looking at Eun-ho now, Dan-yi asks point-blank if he likes her. Eun-ho freezes.
Without so much as a glance her way, Eun-ho pivots and heads back into the house. Once inside, his knees give out. Eun-ho panics that he nearly allowed Dan-yi to reject him on the spot. Dan-yi blinks after him, bewildered as to why he didn’t just deny it outright.
Meanwhile, Hae-rin and Seo-joon part ways. Checking their phones, they’re both disappointed to find no replies.
Dan-yi storms into the house and confronts Eun-ho. He’s composed himself by now, and his face is impassive as she pesters him to just say he doesn’t like her. Eun-ho coolly tells her to think whatever makes her comfortable. He tries to return to work, but Dan-yi won’t follow until he finally says he doesn’t like her.
Unconvinced, Dan-yi recalls feeling him caress her face and tries to imagine alternatives (such as a pencil eraser or a marker). Eun-ho catches her rolling an eraser over her cheek and taps her head with his pencil, chiding her to focus. Dan-yi grumbles she’s his elder and Eun-ho snaps he’s tired of hearing it.
Dan-yi is sure she felt something caress her face and Eun-ho asks if she dreamed something dirty. Returning to the manuscript, Dan-yi shrinks back when Eun-ho leans over to check her progress. He resumes reading, but suddenly asks what she’ll do if he does like her.
Eun-ho points out that he’s actually quite a catch and thinks she should be happy if he liked her. “You should think about it,” he adds, “If you accept me…” But Dan-yi cuts him off with a series of smacks.
Finally grabbing hold of her flailing arms, Eun-ho finishes that he’ll be good to her. He wonders if he should just like her and if she’d agree to date him. Dan-yi warns him to knock it off. Undeterred, Eun-ho calls her by name and says she’s cute and beautiful.
“I love you, Kang Dan-yi,” Eun-ho smiles sweetly… and Dan-yi headbutts him! Her arms free, Dan-yi wrubs her wrists and grumbles that he made her resort to violence. Eun-ho pouts and Dan-yi snaps at him to get back to work.
Wandering around an art exhibit, Hae-rin bumps into Seo-joon again and they laugh at the coincidence.
At work the following day, Dan-yi leafs through the mail and notices a letter addressed to the missing author–aka Eun-ho’s father–and guesses it’s fanmail. Shes greeted by a playful hipcheck from Yeong-ah, who pouts at Dan-yi’s formal greeting because they’re friends now. Aww.
The women giggle in the elevator as they show off dance moves for their next club night. The elevator opens to reveal Director Ko . Dan-yi attempts a friendly greeting… only to revert to formal speech when Director Ko stares blankly at her. Director Ko tells Dan-yi to pick up another gift, but this time, there’s no bite to her order.
In the office, everyone cheers for the newest book Hae-rin worked on getting printed. Dan-yi delivers a copy to President Jae-min and he’s thrilled that she indulges his eccentricities. She then takes a copy to Director Ko.
Opening the cover, Director Ko frowns and in his office, Jae-min does the same. They run out to speak with Hae-rin, but it’s too late–the author has already seen the error in his bio. Director Ko is livid that Hae-rin didn’t check it before printing.
Hae-rin apologizes, but levels a glare at Ji-yul. A flashback reveals Hae-rin assigned the task to Ji-yul, but the newbie had left out one of the author’s vital credentials. Everyone discusses how to handle the error, lamenting having to reprint the entire batch of hardcover copies.
Shaking, Hae-rin’s legs give out and she dives for her secret soju stash. Dan-yi fails to stop her and is unable to adequately hide Hae-rin with her hands. Everyone stares in horror as Hae-rin downs the container and then barks at Ji-yul to meet her in the conference room.
Eun-ho checks Hae-rin’s drawer–despite Dan-yi’s attempts to block him–and orders her to throw out Hae-rin’s stash. Turning to the rest of the office, Eun-ho tells them not to let the president or Director Ko get wind of it.
In the conference room, Hae-rin slams her jacket onto the table, repeatedly. She spits that she wishes Ji-yul would quit, but admits it’s Ji-yul’s life and choice… However, regarding this incident, Hae-rin considers those books her flesh and blood. She orders Ji-yul to correct the mistake with stickers… alone… by tomorrow.
Returning to her desk, Hae-rin places an order for the stickers. Eun-ho questions it, and Hae-rin bursts into tears, crying that she doesn’t want to do it either, but she can’t stand to see all those books shredded for missing one word.
At the hospital, Seo-joon beams when he locates his mother, who turns out to be a volunteer. Sitting down for a break, Seo-joon urges Mom to quit volunteering, citing her health. She reminds him the doctor said she’s fine, but Seo-joon argues cancer isn’t something you just spring back from.
Mom insists she feels better doing this. Changing the subject, she asks, “Did you go on a date with that tall lady?” Seo-joon is flustered when she asks for a photo, promising to give her one next time. He gives her a postcard from the art exhibit and suggests they go together before it ends.
Arriving at the printing warehouse, Ji-yul discovers her credit cards have all been canceled when she tries to pay the taxi driver, forcing her to relinquish all her cash. Inside, a worker guides her to the books and Ji-yul is appalled when he lays her coat down on one of the stacks.
She’s on the verge of tears as she gently places her bag atop the coat. Calling her mother, Ji-yul wonders if she should just quit already. Mom balks that she has to tough it out at least 3 months in order to get married and hangs up when Ji-yul begs her to reactivate the credit cards.
At the office, Eun-ho wraps up a call and announces they’ve received additional print orders for two books. The first is a book Ji-hong edited and everyone gives him a round of applause. Pausing to smile meaningfully at Dan-yi, Eun-ho announces the second book.
Another of his team members stands to get applause for her editorial work, but Eun-ho credits Dan-yi, since the surge in sales occurred thanks to the content she’d posted on the company blog. Even Director Ko smiles as everyone erupts into a round of applause.
Sneaking away to check the response online, Dan-yi does her happy dance. Eun-ho catches her and smiles,teasing that she’s supposed to be buying a gift right now.
At the mall, Dan-yi purchases the gift and pauses to look at a nice shirt for Eun-ho. Meanwhile, Eun-ho is at the jewelry counter to buy a necklace. Dan-yi tells the clerk not to bother gift-wrapping the shirt and receives a call from Eun-ho to meet him at the jewelry counter.
Showing Dan-yi the necklaces, Eun-ho asks which she likes best. Dan-yi wants to know who it’s for, but Eun-ho only offers her a vague description of the woman that Dan-yi boils down to “nice and pretty.” She says that’s all men look for and growls when Eun-ho adds they also look for nice bodies. Hee.
Finally, Dan-yi selects a necklace and Eun-ho gets close to use her as a model. Dan-yi flinches when he reaches for her to take it off again, and Eun-ho asks if she’s returning to the office. Dan-yi confirms it and Eun-ho tells her he’s going to the university for a lecture.
Dan-yi continues to stand there and Eun-ho smirks, wondering why she’s not leaving. Dan-yi awkwardly zips off, and in the elevator tries to work out Eun-ho’s strange behavior. She mutters that he doesn’t like her, so he must be teasing her. Oh, honey…
Back at the office, Dan-yi sets Eun-ho’s shirt on her desk and runs off to deliver the gifts. While borrowing Dan-yi’s stapler, Hae-rin notices the shirt. She texts Seo-joon to meet her to sign the contract.
Hae-rin stops by the break room and Dan-yi proudly reveals that she saved Hae-rin’s soju stash and hid it under a bench. The women grin at each other just as a text rolls in. Hae-rin holds it up for Dan-yi to read Eun-ho admonishing Hae-rin not to drink again at the office or he’ll write her up.
Sobering, Hae-rin tentatively asks Dan-yi about her work at Eun-ho’s (for the manuscript) and if she’d seen anyone else there. Confused, Dan-yi answers no. Hae-rin breathes a sigh of relief and grins that she knew Eun-ho had lied to her (about living with a woman), while Dan-yi looks uncomfortable.
Hoon screams for Dan-yi to hold the elevator that evening as they leave work. He tells her he’s heading over to help Ji-yul and Dan-yi smiles that she’s doing the same. Hoon tells her not to, since he’s going and Dan-yi, oblivious to his implications, frowns that they’ll never finish on their own.
Hoon changes tactics and tells her Director Ko had left her another task. Panicked that she hadn’t seen it, Dan-yi remains in the elevator as Hoon skips out. As the doors shut between them, Hoon admits he lied and scurries off to Ji-yul.
He finds her at the warehouse, covered in stickers. Ji-yul squeals to see he brought food and declares Hoon her saviour, pulling him in for a hug. They break apart and Hoon attempts to go in for a second hug but is rebuffed as Ji-yul suggests they eat.
Hae-rin meets Seo-joon to sign the contract. Seo-joon says reading a book sometimes reveals what kind of person the editor is. Hae-rin asks his impression of her and Seo-joon replies, “Headstrong, but flexible.”
Smilling, Hae-rin hands him the contract for three books: Writer Yu’s novel and then two of his choice. Seo-joon wants to add a condition to work separately from the company’s design team and that no one should show him other covers they like, since it suggests they want him to do something similar. Hae-rin nods along, making notations.
Seo-joon asks if she’s listening, since her responses are coming so easily. Hae-rin clarifies that she’s merely agreeing to his terms, adding that she prefers people to be precise. “It’s all about making a good book, isn’t it?” she smiles.
Sheepishly, Hae-rin admits she’d drafted an alternative contract for five books, instead of three. She implores Seo-joon to sign that one instead, promising to do a good job. Looking at Hae-rin thoughtfully, Seo-joon asks if she likes making books.
Hae-rin replies that she does and Seo-joon opts for the five-book contract, since he and Hae-rin have similar views. She excitedly asks if he’ll stretch it for ten and they playfully haggle how many books he’ll agree to.
On the bus home, Dan-yi mulls over her recent interactions with Eun-ho. Her thoughts are interrupted when he calls to ask when she’ll be home. Flustered, Dan-yi fibs she’s still at work and Eun-ho hangs up, smiling down at the bouquet and gift he’s bought her.
Hae-rin tells Seo-joon she’ll be stopping by Eun-ho’s and he offers to accompany her, since he lives in the neighborhood. Dan-yi shuffles home, thinking of how close Eun-ho had been when clasping the necklace on her earlier. She spots Hae-rin and Seo-joon round the corner just in time to duck behind Eun-ho’s car.
Eun-ho places the flowers and gift in Dan-yi’s room and then goes to answer the doorbell. He expression stiffens when he sees Hae-rin and sighs as he opens the gate. Seo-joon spots Dan-yi but heeds her silent plea not to say anything.
Eun-ho reminds Hae-rin he’d forbade her from coming over. Hae-rin grins that he lied about having a female roommate, adding she didn’t drink today. She follows Eun-ho inside and Dan-yi comes out from her hiding spot.
Seo-joon guesses no one from work knows her living arrangement, and happily announces he signed a contract with her company like she’d wanted. Dan-yi smiles that they’ll see each other more often. Seo-joon asks about his text, and Dan-yi awkwardly says she’d been busy and forgotten to reply.
Inside the house, Hae-rin proudly shows Eun-ho the contract she’d just signed with Seo-joon, but noting Eun-ho’s expression, worries he’s upset she dropped by. Eun-ho cuts her off to say she’d forgotten a book last time she was over. Hae-rin doesn’t recall, but Eun-ho tells her to fetch it off the bookshelf.
Sighing that Eun-ho still doesn’t know her feelings (referring to the many notes she’s hidden on his bookshelf), Hae-rin pulls out the book Eun-ho indicated and a red envelope falls to the floor. It’s a response letter from Eun-ho and tears spring to her eyes as she learns Eun-ho has read all of her letters, but pretended not to know.
Eun-ho:“Your feelings for me were beautiful and precious, so I didn’t want to mistreat it. The woman I’ve known for three years is passionate, diligent, and beautiful. That is why you will find a better guy than me. Someone who recognizes you. Someone who makes you shine. Someone who makes you happy. At least, someone who won’t pretend not to know your feelings.”
Eun-ho writes that he’d rather be a great colleague to her, and promises to wait until she meets a nice boyfriend, thanking her for liking him. Hae-rin tearfully admits to Eun-ho that she’d lied about having boyfriends because only when she was dumped would Eun-ho pay attention to her.
He quietly tells her to pick better guys and Hae-rin laughs that he’s making it harder by dumping her so nicely. She tells him to keep his promise to wait and they smile sadly at each other. Eun-ho’s phone rings and his face falls when he sees the caller, “KAPYONG.”
Having relocated to the udon restaurant, Seo-joon notes Dan-yi’s troubled expression and offers to lend an ear. Dan-yi starts by saying she has an old book, and when Seo-joon asks the title, she thinks, “The title is Cha Eun-ho.” Eun-ho speeds down the road and tells the caller he’s on his way.
Dan-yi says that whenever she felt tired, happy, or empty, she’d take out her book and read it. But lately, the book seems different. “It is definitely the book that I read over and over again countless times, but I keep on… seeing new sentences I haven’t seen before.”
She notes that there’s lines she’s seemed to have missed and it feels like she’s reading a whole new book. Seo-joon replies, “The book hasn’t changed. I’m pretty sure it’s you who changed. The heart of the reader has changed.”
Eun-ho arrives at a house and runs upstairs. A man informs him that “he” just fell asleep, but suffered severe wounds from a fall. Eun-ho bursts into a room where an older gentleman sleeps fitfully on a bed, scratches covering his face. His wrists and ankles are tethered to the bed posts with rope.
Tearing up, Eun-ho gently touches the man’s face and then removes one of the ropes, that has left angry red marks. He moves to another and breaks down into sobs.
Holy crow… so, it’s probably safe to assume the man on the bed is Eun-ho’s father (aka the missing author, aka possibly Seo-joon’s father). The actual bindings on his wrists and ankles were a shock, but I get the impression those might be there to keep him from hurting himself, rather than keep him captive. Which makes Eun-ho’s violent reaction to Seo-joon’s accusation of keeping Dad tied up, that much more understandable. Because it’s true, but in the most heartbreaking way.
I find it interesting that Dan-yi knows nothing about this part of Eun-ho’s life. Just as she kept her marital problems from Eun-ho, he seems to be hiding his biological father from her. We’ve come to understand Dan-yi’s reasoning, but Eun-ho’s is up in the air until we have more information. We know he knew about his biological father when he signed on with Jae-min, and the company started 10 years ago. So has Dad been in this state all this time? Has Eun-ho been shouldering that all alone? At first, I’d assumed he just didn’t like his dad and that’s why he didn’t want to discuss it, but this is pretty dark…
On a brighter note, I am so glad that last episode allowed me to unabashedly adore Director Ko. I’ve always wanted to like her, because despite her steely exterior, there were glimpses of an awkward, insecure woman underneath… but it was hard when she took her personal frustrations and insecurities out on Dan-yi. Last episode let her shine and revealed to Dan-yi and Yeong-ah that their boss had a hidden cute side. On the surface, the dynamic with Director Ko seemed to revert to pre-club shenanigans, but there was an underlying softness to her this hour. She’s still a badass, but the bitterness has ebbed and an unspoken understanding has been established between her and Dan-yi.
I love love love the strong female relationships this show is building. When Director Ko actually smiled when Dan-yi was congratulated for the blog? I about cried happy tears, because women supporting women is all I could ever want in a world where women are often pitted against each other. Not to mention Dan-yi trying her best to protect Hae-rin with the soju incident (and saving the stash for her). And literally everything with Yeong-ah.
Hae-rin still dominates as my favorite character, though. I appreciated the way Eun-ho handled her crush. It had gotten to the point where he could no longer let it go unaddressed–both because his lack of rejection was inadvertently leading Hae-rin on, and because her constant appearances at the house are interfering with Dan-yi. His letter was a perfect bookend to her confessions, and is a great example of proper communication and respect towards Hae-rin. Now that she’s been given a firm answer, I hope she’ll be able to move on. Perhaps to a handsome neighborhood friend with a dog?
Which brings us to Dan-yi. The seed has finally been planted and she spent the entire hour waffling between whether Eun-ho liked her or not. Her conversation with Seo-joon at the end was so great, because he gave her the best advice (and sadly, he didn’t even know it): that it’s not Eun-ho that’s changed, but Dan-yi. We know Eun-ho has loved Dan-yi since forever ago, but Dan-yi’s feelings have always been firmly planted in her noona role. It was easy when Eun-ho was a student and then when Dan-yi was married… but she’s not anymore, and Eun-ho is an adult now. Time has leveled the playing field and this round, Dan-yi doesn’t have the upper hand. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
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