Romance Is a Bonus Book: Episode 3
As our heroine settles into her new job, she finds that it’s not going to be smooth sailing. Luckily, she’s not one to let it get in her way and is determined to make the best of the opportunity she’s been given. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s one person in her corner who’s always willing to lend a hand.
EPISODE 3: “People Call Me By My Name”
Eun-ho waits for Dan-yi to explain why she’s hiding in his home, but instead she takes out a bottle of alcohol and downs a glass. She asks if he’s going to kick her out, explaining how for the past year she’s been squatting in her old, condemned home. After secretly taking over Eun-ho’s housekeeping, she’d used his water and eaten his food. Then her house was demolished a few days ago and she’d started sleeping in his attic.
When asked how she’s so calm, Dan-yi points out that crying will only upset him and that’s why she didn’t say anything sooner. Eun-ho argues he’d rather she cry to him, but Dan-yi firmly replies she’s shed enough tears to realize crying solves nothing. Taking the bottle despite Eun-ho’s protests, Dan-yi disappears upstairs. The second she’s out of sight, she winces at the strong booze and dumps the rest out the window. Hee.
Snickering at her deception, Dan-yi thinks her acting will allow her to stay at least 3 months in Eun-ho’s house. Smiling, she whispers, “Thank goodness I have Eun-ho in my life.”
Eun-ho worries about Dan-yi after finding the empty liquor bottle, but she’s already working at her jimjilbang job. Chatting with her coworker, Dan-yi admits that she sent Jae-hui abroad to avoid bullying and that despite landing an office job, she’ll continue her part-time work.
Eventually, Eun-ho goes to wake Dan-yi up. He’s made hangover soup, but admits the taste isn’t right. There’s no response, so Eun-ho steps inside and is dismayed at Dan-yi’s makeshift bed. Returning downstairs, Eun-ho looks around his exercise room thoughtfully.
Dan-yi is waiting for the elevator when Eun-ho arrives at work. She immediately feigns a stomachache from “drinking” but Eun-ho deadpans he saw her walking in when he drove up. She pouts at his lack of concern and Eun-ho lies that he’s stopped worrying about her. Instead, he’s more upset at his lack of privacy for the next few months.
Dan-yi points out that’s what phones are for, suggesting he just call if he’s bringing a girl over and she can sleep elsewhere. Eun-ho starts to argue her things will still be there, but Dan-yi wants to know why he’d be bringing a girl into the attic rather than his bedroom. Hee.
Exiting the elevator, Dan-yi is immediately loaded up with tasks. Eun-ho watches anxiously as Dan-yi flits about the office, texting tips any time he notices her struggling. Finally, Dan-yi gently replies for him to stop worrying and do his own work… only to be stumped when told to prepare for the executive meeting.
Asking around the office, Dan-yi is finally told she needs five “IVLs” but is unable to ask what that means before Hae-rin receives a call. It’s newbie Ji-yul’s mother on the phone, and she requests Hae-rin forgive Ji-yul for sleeping in as the young woman in question cheerfully bounces into the office. Ji-yul giggles when Hae-rin expresses shock over the phone call. Hae-rin snaps at her for responding casually to her superior.
Eun-ho starts to protest when Hae-rin assigns Ji-yul a proofreading task, but she firmly replies, “I have done more difficult things when I was a newbie because my direct supervisor was a real piece of work.” From the way Eun-ho clamps his mouth shut, he’s the supervisor she’s referring to.
Company card in hand to pay for the mysterious “IVLs” Dan-yi is more confused than ever. After chiding Eun-ho for interfering, Dan-yi is unwilling to ask for his help. Fortunately, Eun-ho notices her frantic expression and follows her out to tell her “IVL” is an acronym for “iced vanilla latte.” He teases that being eager isn’t enough and Dan-yi sticks her tongue out as the elevator doors close between them.
Instead of returning to his desk, Eun-ho stops by the library. Hae-rin finds him there and Eun-ho comments she’s being awfully harsh towards Ji-yul. Hae-rin points out she’s just repeating what she’d learned from her supervisor. Turning serious, Eun-ho wiggles his finger to beckon her over. Hae-rin protests, but Eun-ho insists and she steps closer for him to flick her forehead. Ha!
She barks in pain and Eun-ho laughs. Hae-rin pouts about still having to put up with such treatment and Eun-ho good-naturedly replies that he’ll always be her supervisor. He urges her to go easy on Ji-yul before she quits in tears like he’d pushed Hae-rin to do when she was his trainee. She points out that he then begged her to come back and Eun-ho notes she’s become cocky after getting promoted.
They both laugh and then Hae-rin asks Eun-ho to return her clothes she’d left at his place. He doesn’t see much point, saying she’ll just get drunk and come over again. Announcing it’s time for the meeting, Eun-ho walks off and Hae-rin smiles after him.
Dan-yi delivers the coffee to the meeting room and sighs that the world has indeed changed that a simple acronym made her feel like a such a fool. Clearing off the boxes she’d set on the table earlier, Dan-yi has a vision of the mean interview woman leaning against the table.
The apparition sneers at Dan-yi and repeats how disgusted she is at Dan-yi for quitting her job while she’d fought to keep her’s. Eun-ho pauses at the door to watch Dan-yi for a moment before following President Kim inside for the meeting. Dan-yi finishes just as the last of the executives file in. From the hallway, she watches through the glass as her voiceover plays.
Dan-yi:“I’ve decided to come to terms with the fact that the world changed while my life stayed the same. I thought that I had it hardest when I was busy with housework and my kid, but everyone else was working hard and doing their best in their given situations. And that’s why I’m here, and they are there.”
While out walking his dog, Cinderella Prince Seo-joon passes the bench where he’d first met Dan-yi and smiles as he thinks back on that night. Later, he stops by a bookstore and makes a phone call to a publisher about the cover for the reprint of a novel. President Kim is also in the store and, noticing Seo-joon browsing, follows him around to pitch books Gyeoroo has published.
Seo-joon is quick to call him out on his scheme and President Kim feigns ignorance, attempting to play it off like a coincidence. Unfortunately for him, Eun-ho appears just then and cheekily calls out to him loudly. Walking over, Eun-ho sighs that he’s swamped but President Kim is free enough to promote their books to innocent bystanders. Hee.
President Kim shoos Eun-ho away and scoops up a bunch of books, including the one in Seo-joon’s hand. He urges Seo-joon to read the book he suggested before scurrying off after Eun-ho.
The reason President Kim called is because the cover of Eun-ho’s newest book “A Geeky Scientist’s Survival Story in Mars” (haha, is this a spoof of “The Martian”?) isn’t up to snuff. Eun-ho argues that book aren’t accessories, but President Kim insists that they are and uses the book Seo-joon had been discussing earlier over the phone as an example of how book covers should look.
Eun-ho isn’t convinced but President Kim announces he wants the man who designed this cover. He orders Eun-ho to use his connections to bring Ji Seo-joon to their company, unaware that the man in question is listening just a few feet away. Currently Seo-joon works exclusively for a rival company but his contract is expiring soon and President Kim demands Eun-ho bring him to Gyeoroo before he has a chance to renew it.
The following morning, Eun-ho looks over a series of books Seo-joon designed. He asks Hae-rin her opinion and she praises Seo-joon’s ability to clearly express the type of book it is by his design. Eun-ho thinks the content is what matters, and while Hae-rin agrees, she points out that Seo-joon’s covers compliment the books’ contents.
Eun-ho relents that he also sees the merit in Seo-joon’s design but is annoyed that the whole focus on covers seems too commercial. Hae-rin starts to defend it, but Eun-ho teases that he knows she just wants people to read their books and that he feels the same.
That evening Dan-yi checks a potential apartment, but despite the landlord’s claims, the filthy room doesn’t look suitable for living. As she’s leaving, she notices someone exiting the building next door. It’s Seo-joon!
They marvel at the coincidence and Dan-yi explains she’s in the area looking at rooms and guesses Seo-joon lives upstairs. Curious how she knew, he laughs when she claims to sense her green onion plant. Dan-yi admits she saw the light and he offers to show her the plant.
Sitting on his porch, Seo-joon proudly announces the plant is growing well and Dan-yi says she’s thankful for his help that day. Seo-joon warns her not to move into the room she’d viewed, revealing it to be nothing more than a storage room for the past three years.
Dan-yi sighs that she’d really wanted to live in this neighborhood, but it’s so expensive. She explains that she’s living with a friend now, but doesn’t wish to burden him. Remembering the umbrella Seo-joon lent her, she promises to return it soon and asks for the dog’s name. Seo-joon tells her he found the dog the same day they met and hasn’t come up with one yet.
Park Hoon arrives at a restaurant and proudly presents his business card for a discount. He’s surprised to see fellow newbie Ji-yul there as well, but she rejects his request to join her, saying she’s waiting for her boyfriend. Hoon returns to his own table and soon Ji-yul is greeting her boyfriend.
The boyfriend declines ordering, darkly adding she probably won’t be eating either. Ji-yul is confused so her boyfriend explains he’s breaking up with her. “I hate everything about you,” he says, “Your mom told me to tell you that.” He chokes out that he actually likes Ji-yul, but her mother insisted he do this and he can’t take it anymore.
Ji-yul whimpers her mother is just looking out for her, but the boyfriend doesn’t want to hear it and leaves. By the time Hoon’s food arrives, Ji-yul is still sitting silently at her table. He wonders loudly how he’ll ever eat all this food and asks if she’d like to join him.
Ji-yul stands and storms out… only to come right back and start eating. She sniffs that she’s only doing this because he said he couldn’t finish it alone, and he smiles. He asks how many times her mother has interfered in her love life and Ji-yul only knows it’s happened a lot.
Hoon asks why she doesn’t fight back and Ji-yul points to her expensive bag. “It costs more than three months’ worth of our paycheck combined,” she says, “My mom buys me stuff like this.” Hoon asks if a bag is more important than love and Ji-yul grumbles she doesn’t know… but it’s pretty.
At his house, Eun-ho sends off a moving truck just as another one arrives. It’s a bed and furniture for Dan-yi and he quickly gets to work arranging her new room (where his home gym used to be) with care. He finishes just as Dan-yi arrives home and sneakily doesn’t answer when she asks if he’d been exercising.
Dan-yi runs upstairs to change and Eun-ho lets her go. She immediately returns and he listens with an amused smile as she accuses him of throwing out her things. Reminding him her father helped Eun-ho with his inheritance after his mother died, Dan-yi even blames him for her father’s cancer.
Finally demanding where her stuff is, Dan-yi flings open the door Eun-ho indicates and her anger melts away. Unable to contain her grin, she takes in the room Eun-ho has created for her. Dan-yi says nothing upon returning to the table. Eun-ho grumbles that she could at least thank him and Dan-yi beams.
Eun-ho scoffs that she’d accused him of giving her father cancer and Dan-yi meekly apologizes, admitting she’d been angry. Unbothered, Eun-ho asks where she’s been and frowns when Dan-yi replies she’d been room hunting. “I don’t mind… that you’re here,” he fumbles, “Living with you isn’t half bad.”
Eun-ho avoids eye-contact and Dan-yi laughs that he blushes whenever he says nice things and wonders how he manages to date if he gets embarrassed so easily. “Dating isn’t about words,” Eun-ho argues. “Is it physical then?” Dan-yi asks and Eun-ho’s silence makes her laugh again.
“Your presence alone gives me so much confidence,” Dan-yi tells him, sincerely. However, she still feels the need to stand on her own rather than rely on Eun-ho. They agree she’ll stay with him six months, instead of three.
At work the next day, there’s an announcement for blurb submissions on an upcoming book and Dan-yi muses that she used to do work like that. When Director Ko calls for Dan-yi to run an errand, Dan-yi tells her she’d like to submit a blurb. “Just stick to your own job,” Director Ko snaps.
In the hallway, Dan-yi smiles that she wasn’t actually told no and pumps herself up to try. Eun-ho gets her a copy of the novel, but warns Dan-yi her ideas will likely be rejected. Undeterred, Dan-yi says she’ll come up with something so great they can’t refuse and Eun-ho smiles at her enthusiasm.
Dan-yi meticulously studies the novel, working late into the night. The next morning, she brings her ideas to Director Ko. Her smile fades as Director Ko rejects each of her ideas. Finally, she tells Dan-yi that her work is outdated, wondering why Dan-yi bothered to do something she wasn’t asked to.
Although disheartened, Dan-yi fires herself back up and heads to the office library to do research. Dan-yi breaks for tea and offers a cup to Hae-rin when she walks in. Hae-rin notices Dan-yi’s papers and Dan-yi admits she wanted to try submitting a blurb.
Hae-rin is surprised when Dan-yi suddenly asks her opinion and starts to look them over as Dan-yi is summoned for another task. When Dan-yi returns, Hae-rin is gone, but she’s left notes. Dan-yi flips through more rejections, but the final page has no criticism, only a star. Eun-ho walks in and Dan-yi cheerfully hands him the starred paper for his opinion.
Director Ko arrives in the meeting room just as Dan-yi finishes setting up. Dan-yi hands her the one good blurb and although Director Ko rolls her eyes, she takes it. Returning to her desk, Dan-yi starts taking notes on what makes a good blurb.
Inside the meeting, everyone discusses what they’re looking for with the blurb. President Kim asks if Director Ko has anything to submit and she passes around a sheet of paper. The reactions are enthusiastic and Hae-rin and Eun-ho are pleased to see that it’s Dan-yi’s blurb. However their smiles fade as they realize Director Ko has no intention of clarifying it came from Dan-yi, not her.
Dan-yi excitedly rushes over when the meeting ends, but quickly gathers what happened from snippets of conversation. Eun-ho is too upset to look her in the eye, but Director Ko levels a cold, unwavering glance on her way out. Only Hae-rin remains and Dan-yi asks her if this kind of thing happens often. Swallowing her emotions, Hae-rin lies that she doesn’t know what Dan-yi is talking about and leaves her to stand there alone.
Leaving work that evening, Hae-rin and Dan-yi share an elevator. Dan-yi’s demeanor is still solemn and Hae-rin reminds her that if she wants to last here, she should stop feeling that it’s unfair. Dan-yi says that more than that, she’s disappointed.
She explains that rather than making a fuss and taking her side, simply understanding would’ve been enough. “Instead of giving me advice or comforting me, sympathizing with me,” Dan-yi says, pointing out that they’re all human. Her words touch Hae-rin and though Dan-yi doesn’t see it, Hae-rin smiles as she walks away.
That night Dan-yi and Eun-ho drink together at home. Dan-yi pouts that Eun-ho didn’t stand up for her. He points out that although her submission was chosen, it doesn’t prove her competency. Dan-yi declares what she’d actually wanted was recognition that she could do well if given a chance.
Dan-yi tells him her favorite thing about work is people call her by her name. For the past several years she’s been referred to by many things, but not her name. “I have a name too, you know,” she says, “No one called me that. But now, people call my by my name.” Eun-ho starts calling her name and they playfully call each other back and forth.
Returning from the bathroom, Dan-yi is surprised to find Eun-ho has vanished. When she calls, he answers from a taxi. He sleepily tells her he’s going home but sobers when Dan-yi laughs that he was home.
The taxi drops him off outside Dan-yi’s old house and his voiceover says, “Whenver I got drunk, I came here… because I missed Dan-yi so much.” Memories of multiple nights stanging outside Dan-yi’s play as Eun-ho continues, “Sometimes, I heard her laugh. Sometimes… I heard them fight. And sometimes… I saw her crying. On those days, I couldn’t even say hi. I thought my heart was going to crumble.”
Dan-yi stands outside, waiting for Eun-ho. Another taxi drops him off and Eun-ho pulls Dan-yi into a hug as he thinks, “I don’t have to go there now after drinking. Dan-yi… is living at my house.”
Excuse me for a moment while I squeal like a piglet. I am so thrilled and enchanted with this drama. The first episode was cute but a bit clunky. Luckily, that hasn’t been a problem in the subsequent episodes and this one made me laugh so hard. I really love Dan-yi because she’s so strong and manages to stay positive without sounding the least bit naive. The poor woman has been through hell and back and she’s still able to slap on a smile and run full steam ahead.
I had briefly feared that Hae-rin would steal Dan-yi’s ideas, but I was pleasantly surprised by the twist of events. I banked on things not going well, but I was worried Hae-rin’s character would suffer a disservice in the process. I’m disappointed how often dramas will portray second female leads as wicked in order to facilitate/justify main romance and move the plot. Hae-rin has been presented as a tough, but competent and hardworking woman and I find her quite likeable. Her stealing Dan-yi’s ideas would’ve undermined all that.
However, I do think this is a lesson Dan-yi needed to learn about the nasty side of office politics. She was highly skilled at her job in the past, but she’s been out of the business world for 7 years, and has had to learn (the hard way) that things have changed. I loved that her first ideas were brutally rejected because that’s so realistic. Even after research, her second set were flawed. As much as I adore Dan-yi, I didn’t want things to miraculously work out–because that’s not life. I love this journey of re-learning and how the thing she was disappointed in wasn’t so much that her idea was appropriated–or even that Eun-ho and Hae-rin didn’t stand up for her–but that Hae-rin’s reaction was to offer cold advice, rather than simply acknowledging that it sucks. Their moment in the elevator revealed a lot about both characters and it makes me so hopeful for a future friendship between them.
My only concern is that Hae-rin and Eun-ho’s ambiguous flirtation might cause friction later on. I genuinely like Hae-rin and I’d hate for Dan-yi’s relationship with Eun-ho to gum up what could be a really great female bond. Only time will tell, but I’ve been impressed with the drama’s handling of relationships thus far, from Eun-ho’s continued friendship with his ex in the last episode, down to the nice little moment between Dan-yi’s fellow newbies Park Hoon and Ji-yul at the restaurant. Small interactions like that speak volumes and add so much depth: Park Hoon isn’t just a kiss-ass and Ji-yul may be spoilt, but it comes at a cost.
Speaking of meaningful interactions, I am continually delighted with the way Dan-yi’s relationship and history with Eun-ho unfolds. They have such a charming dynamic and I love how much they respect and care for one another. The friendship they share is absolutely lovely and it’s never been a wonder why Eun-ho is so enamored with Dan-yi, or why she is so comforted merely by Eun-ho’s presence. Eun-ho is very aware Dan-yi is his most important person, but since Dong-min entered the picture, he’s had to hold her at arm’s length. It was bittersweet to see that every time Eun-ho was drunk, he would let those feelings lead him to her door. But now that she’s living with him and Dong-min is out of the picture, the feelings Eun-ho locked away are bubbling to the surface.
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