Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 13
The law of the universe dictates that what goes up, must then come down. Sadly, our heroine is learning that the hard way as her time at Gyeoroo threatens to come to an end. Dan-yi has trudged an unfair path from the get-go, but at least this time, she doesn’t have to face it alone.
EPISODE 13: “Did It Hurt Because of Me?”
In light of Director Ko’s discovery of Dan-yi’s lies (in regards to her over-qualifications for her position), Eun-ho makes it his mission to find Dan-yi a job elsewhere. Unfortunately, each person he approaches agrees that Dan-yi is talented, but her employment gap is a deal-breaker.
Meanwhile, Seo-joon gets a call from Hae-rin (whom he’s labeled as “Red Spots” in his contacts for her allergic reaction to the cucumbers, hee). He winces at the memory and rejects her call. Eun-ho also declines answering her, but she sends him a text begging for help in apologizing to Seo-joon after her drunken fiasco.
Eun-ho replies that she should be professional since Seo-joon isn’t a friend, but a business partner. Seo-joon also texts her, complaining that after she’d slept on his bed, his sheets still smell, despite washing them.
Hae-rin pouts that both men hate her. She texts Seo-joon that she bought an apology cake and he replies that he doesn’t need it and asks that they not see each other again. He can’t help but wonder if Hae-rin was a bad drunk because she’d gotten dumped… or the other way around. Hehe.
Arriving home empty-handed, Eun-ho sighs at the realization of how hard Dan-yi has struggled. Inside, she greets him happily and asks for a hint for the upcoming company idea competition.
Eun-ho agrees… on the condition she give him a kiss on the cheek. Dan-yi complies but Eun-ho grins it wasn’t good enough, and has her do the same for the other cheek. Still unsatisfied, he closes his eyes and puckers his lips.
Dan-yi gives him a peck on the mouth and Eun-ho says she can do better… but Dan-yi playfully bats his lips and tells him to uphold his end of the bargain. Laughing, Eun-ho points out that since he’ll be a judge, he can’t show her preferential treatment.
He does, however, tell her to aim for a book people will love for a long time. “It’ll be great if it can contribute to the company’s success,” he adds, reminding her to think outside the box. Dan-yi cheerfully turns back to brainstorming, but Eun-ho suddenly asks about her time job searching.
Dan-yi agrees that it was extremely stressful, recalling how miserable she’d felt at the unfairness of it all. Eun-ho wonders why she didn’t seek him out, and Dan-yi smiles that she knew he’d be upset.
Eun-ho argues they could’ve been upset together but Dan-yi waves it off as the past. “Now I have a job, and I’m doing pretty well at work,” she beams, “I even have a boyfriend now.” Taking her hand, Eun-ho apologizes for having been blind to her struggles and denies it when she asks if something is wrong.
Dan-yi wonders if it’s okay for her to participate in the idea competition when she’s just a contract employee, but Eun-ho urges her to do everything she wants to do. He reminds her she’s supposed to be meeting with Hoon and Ji-yul to brainstorm and Dan-yi rushes to get ready.
As she’s finishing up, Eun-ho brings her bag and tells her to close her eyes. Dan-yi grins, suspicious, but does so and Eun-ho clasps a flower earring in her ear. He hugs her from behind as she admires it in the mirror.
Eun-ho says he’ll do chores while she’s gone, but he won’t be home when she gets back. When asked where he’s going, Eun-ho simply says it’s a secret.
Dan-yi meets her fellow newbies at a coffee shop and Hoon declares that while they’ll sit together, they’re still rivals and shouldn’t share anything. Ji-yul pouts that she’s screwed and the other two don’t hesitate to hand her some materials they’d gathered to get her started. Aww.
That evening, Dan-yi arrives home to find Eun-ho prepared dinner for her before leaving. She smiles at his thoughtfulness, but wonders where he’s been disappearing to.
Eun-ho and Jae-min watch anxiously as a doctor finishes examining Author Kang at the house in Kapyong. The doctor tells them Author Kang’s condition is declining and they should prepare for the worst.
Jae-min reminds Eun-ho that they’ve heard this diagnosis many times. Eun-ho’s mind isn’t on the future, however, but the past. “I’m just not sure if I made the right choice,” he admits quietly. Crying, he begs the unconscious Author Kang to tell him he’s doing the right thing.
The next day, Hae-rin finally locates Seo-joon’s house. She peppers the door with knocks but when Seo-joon goes to answer the door, she scurries around the corner. Seo-joon takes Geum-bi for a walk and is surprised when Hae-rin appears before them.
Via message cards, Hae-rin tells Seo-joon that she has sworn off alcohol. She tells him she greatly respects him and begs him to forgive her.for her drunken behavior. Seo-joon can’t help but chuckle a bit, but then his face resume a neutral expression and he walks away.
Over lunch, Yeong-ah tells Dan-yi she plans to request Dan-yi transfer to her team at the next founding members’ meeting.
Meanwhile, Hae-rin continues to follow Seo-joon and he continues to give her the could shoulder. By the time he exits a bookstore to find matching ribbons on Geum-bi and Hae-rin, he’s completely exasperated.
Hae-rin explains that she feels particularly responsible towards Seo-joon because she’s never ended a contract on a bad note. She apologizes again, but Seo-joon seems more upset she subjected herself to her own allergy.
Accepting Hae-rin’s vow to do better, Seo-joon takes Geum-bi home, ignoring her suggestion they eat together. Hae-rin texts Eun-ho that she smoothed things over and promises to keep personal and work matters separate from now on.
The office is abuzz after a post about alleged spotting of Author Kang popped up online. Ji-hong waves it off as another crazy rumor. He believes that Author Kang vanished for a good reason and will reappear someday with the novel he never published, The Heroes.
Curiously, Seo-joon is at home printing off a manuscript also titled, The Heroes, but with a different author listed.
That night, Dan-yi does a little research and finds Author Kang’s declaration of retirement. As Author Kang’s voice reads the letter–lamenting that his passion had been reduced to merely a job over the years–we see Seo-joon finally tearing down his conspiracy board on Author Kang.
Eun-ho returns home and pauses when Dan-yi tells him she was reading Author Kang’s retirement letter. She muses that Author Kang is the reason Eun-ho became a writer, since he’d been Eun-ho’s teacher and asked Eun-ho to write a novel. Wait, what?!
Eun-ho points out Author Kang never liked his novels, and showered them with criticism. “I became a writer because of you,” Eun-ho corrects, reminding Dan-yi she’d uploaded his novel online without his knowledge.
Dan-yi asks if Eun-ho was the one to receive the letter. She admits she’d been busy working and raising her daughter at the time, and hadn’t even known Eun-ho was working at Gyeoroo. Dan-yi adds that he’d been weirdly distant around that time.
His evasive answers don’t deter Dan-yi’s question train. When asked if he’d kept in touch, Eun-ho says Author Kang wasn’t close with anyone and left that letter in hopes no one would search for him. “I personally think it was just the right ending for him,” Eun-ho tells her.
Dan-yi points out The Heroes is still unpublished, and she and many others think Author Kang will return with that book someday. She finally changes the subject to the poetry book Ji-hong wants published and says she hopes Eun-ho voted in favor.
The next morning, the founding members all saunter into work clad in their identical jackets, a dramatic wind and sassy music announcing their arrival. The other employees gather to see the team assemble in the meeting room and Hae-rin notes that it’s her first time seeing this Gyeoroo tradition.
Another employee explains that the founders wore those jackets to every important meeting and event when Gyeoroo was starting out. Dan-yi scurries off to get the voting box she’d been entrusted with and the meeting to decide whether the poetry book will be published commences.
Ji-hong waits with bated breath as Dan-yi reveals the votes one-by-one. First is Ji-hong’s “yes,” followed by Jae-min’s “no.” Jae-min grows nervous when Yeong-ah and Eun-ho’s votes are also a “yes.” Ji-hong’s excitement fades as the last vote falls to Director Ko. Jae-min grins smugly as Dan-yi pulls out the final paper and reveals… a “yes!”
Jae-min stares at Director Ko with utter betrayal in his eyes as everyone else cheers. Dan-yi leaves the meeting to reveal the results to the rest of the office. Ji-yul declares it a historical moment (since it’s Gyeoroo’s first poetry collection) and Hoon announces a second historical moment as the newbies grab their laptops and simultaneously submit their entries for the idea contest.
Back in the meeting, Yeong-ah pitches her request for Dan-yi to transfer to her team. Director Ko immediately shoots it down and the resulting argument between her and Eun-ho reveals Dan-yi’s lie to the rest of the founders.
Afterwards, Ji-hong and Yeong-ah wait anxiously outside and when Director Ko walks past, they ask for the verdict. Director Ko simply says that now that Jae-min is aware, it’s his decision and briskly changes the subject.
Returning to the meeting room, Yeong-ah overhears Jae-min tell Eun-ho that it’s only right to terminate Dan-yi’s contract. Eun-ho argues that Dan-yi’s deception wasn’t illegal but Jae-min firmly replies that the company has rules.
While consulting with Hae-rin, Director Ko makes eye contact with Dan-yi and almost looks remorseful when Dan-yi smiles at her. Seeing Yeong-ah return to her desk, Dan-yi rushes over to hand her some documents. She’s attached a note, asking about the transfer news and Yeong-ah shakes her head.
Dan-yi runs into Yeong-ah in the break area later and assumes Yeong-ah’s distress is because Dan-yi’s transfer was denied. Dan-yi assures her she’s not upset, but Yeong-ah says they found out she’s far more qualified than she’d noted on her resume and that there was talk of terminating Dan-yi’s contract.
In the main office, Ji-hong asks Eun-ho if he really plans to fire Dan-yi. Eun-ho immediately rejects the idea. Ji-hong watches anxiously as Dan-yi and Yeong-ah return to their desks with hollow expressions. Eun-ho attempts to compose a text to Dan-yi, but can’t think of what to say.
Suddenly, Dan-yi gets up and walks away. A text tells Eun-ho that he just informed Dan-yi of her termination and she’ll handle the rest. Shouting her name, Eun-ho chases after her, and Ji-hong wonders if he and Yeong-ah should follow, but she snaps at him to stay put.
Dan-yi arrives at Jae-min’s office and steps inside before Eun-ho can stop her. He watches helplessly as she announces to Jae-min and Director Ko that Eun-ho informed her of her impending termination.
She continues that she’d like to explain herself and says that for a year, she’d searched relentlessly for work. “I heard that it’d be hard,” she says, “but I thought Id’ be given a chance since I lived my life to the fullest. I thought someone would acknowledge me or there’d be a place that would need my and my abilities.”
Dan-yi hadn’t been given that chance, though. So when Gyeoroo claimed age and educational background irrelevant, she’d been willing to throw away her accomplishments and applied without thinking.
She’d been so thrilled when she was hired and hadn’t cared what her job entailed because it was work. “Just so you know,” she finishes with tears in her eye, “I really did my best here.” Jae-min recognizes her hard work, but says the lack of requirements listed on the job posting and Dan-yi’s deception are different matters.
Dan-yi admits she’s at fault, and that she has to leave the company. “Still, this place is my present and future,” she chokes out, “That’s why I came here to ask if you could reconsider.” No one says a word or even looks her in the eye as Dan-yi excuses herself.
In the bathroom, Dan-yi locks herself in a stall and sobs as her voiceover says, “Termination of contract. I realized once again how heavy those three words could be. All I want to do is work. I just want to be here. As saying those things out loud would only make me look greedy I just poured out all the tears I had been bottling up inside.”
That evening, Hoon is startled when Ji-yul shows up and forces her way into his apartment. She announces her mother has kicked her out and declares Hoon is responsible. Hoon argues that they’re not really dating and asks if Ji-yul likes him.
Ji-yul balks that he’s too ugly and Hoon snaps that even if she’s pretty, he doesn’t like her enough to take care of her life. Ji-yul snaps that he’s short and Hoon counters that she looks old. He urges her to go home or at least to the jimjilbang, but Ji-yul says he should go.
Hoon cries that this is his house… only to end up lying on the floor of the jimjilbang wondering why he left. Hee.
Dan-yi and Eun-ho sit together at home and she sighs that Eun-ho must’ve been troubled by the ordeal. Eun-ho promises he’s fine and tells Dan-yi that what she did wasn’t illegal and she’s within her rights to continue working until her contract expires.
She’s unwilling to cause him trouble, but Eun-ho smirks that he’s Cha Eun-ho. “And I won’t let you leave,” he says, “not because I like you, but because you’re a great employee.” Dan-yi agrees that as long as Eun-ho is okay with it, she’ll hold out.
He laments he can’t be with her tomorrow because he has a lecture at the college and Dan-yi playfully reprimands him for acting like her guardian. She tells him not to worry, she feels brave since the only person she needs is him.
Eun-ho drives Dan-yi to work and she grumbles that someone could see them and find out they’re dating. Seeing Dan-yi’s uneasy expression as she gets out, Eun-ho slides out of his window and throws his arms up in a heart. “Kang Dan-yi! I love you!”
She urges him to get back in the car, but grins as he shoots hearts at her. Dan-yi bounces off to work, but Eun-ho watches her warily. Sure enough, he gets a text from Hae-rin in the middle of his lecture… Dan-yi submitted her resignation.
Eun-ho storms out of the classroom, demanding Hae-rin tell him exactly what happened as Dan-yi sits at the bus stop with her belongings and cries.
Well color me confused, folks! This episode took me on a bit of a roller coaster ride and I’m left with a bit of whiplash. I’m not sure how I expected Dan-yi’s fib to play out, but this wasn’t it. Part of the problem here, is I still can’t seem to wrap my head around why it’s such a big deal that she left out a few qualifications on her resume. As Eun-ho pointed out, it’s hardly illegal, and I’m genuinely surprised at how flabbergasted everyone was when Director Ko dropped the bomb.
But even setting that aside, once the cat was out of the bag, I figured Dan-yi would accept her fate and leave. I was pleasantly surprised when she went to see Jae-min, not to quit, but to plead her case. It breaks away from the formula and I was proud of her for admitting that while what she did was (technically) wrong, the system was stacked against her from the get-go and she was screwed either way… and that’s why the ending was particularly upsetting.
After all that for Dan-yi to resign anyway just leaves me feeling robbed. She’d asked for Jae-min to reconsider, and unless something else happened that wasn’t shown, she quit before even getting an answer. I’m hoping there’s more to this, because right now it just looks like she quit to protect Eun-ho and that’s a branch of noble idiocy I could do without.
Same goes for this weird mystery, but for fear of sounding like a broken record, I’ll avoid ranting this week. Instead, I’ll turn to the few positives this hour. The romance is adorable. I’m not as invested in the OTP as I wish I was, but I’m happy that they’re happy and I wouldn’t want them with anyone else.
Hae-rin and Seo-joon are so weird and compliment each other very well. I found it funny how Seo-joon has fully realized just how crazy Hae-rin can be and tried to distance himself. It was cute how hard she tried to win him over, although I totally understand Seo-joon’s exasperation. Hae-rin may be extremely competent in the workplace, but when it comes to her personal life, she still has some growing up to do.
Same can be said for Ji-yul. I haven’t mentioned her and Hoon much because they’re fairly minor characters, but I do thoroughly enjoy their zany dynamic. She’s still immature and pretty selfish, but Ji-yul has made progress and is taking her job seriously and standing up to her mother. Poor Hoon has his hands full juggling mother and daughter and if Ji-yul continues to deny him as a romantic partner, I really feel for him going forward.
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