Our heroine is fighting a losing battle against her feelings, while it seems our hero has stopped trying to fight his at all. Outside forces are lining up to try to sabotage their budding romance, but love is in the air, and it’s going to take more than corporate machinations and a jealous ex-girlfriend to distract these two from the dawning realization of how much they actually want to be together.
EPISODE 9: “Jealousy is an unexpected emotion I’ve never felt before”
Da-hyun rather clumsily knots Jae-in’s tie at his request, then looks in his fridge for breakfast, but he only has water and alcohol—and he’s planning to get rid of the latter, he tells her, “Because I want to hear the next confession when you’re sober.” Da-hyun says she made a mistake because she was drunk, but Jae-in teases that she cried, clung to him and jumped on him last night—doesn’t she remember? She huffs a denial.
He asks her to come have breakfast with him at the hotel, but she protests that it’ll be like advertising that they spent the night in the same house. “But it’s the truth,” he says, grinning when she steps on his foot.
They end up at the hotel anyway, Da-hyun complaining about Jae-in’s stubbornness. Employee Kang spots them and comes over to speak with Jae-in, and although Da-hyun turns away at first to hide her face, Jae-in introduces her to his subordinate, telling him they’re in a serious relationship. Jae-in leaves to take care of some business, leaving her to finish breakfast on her own.
Gathering her courage, Da-hyun goes to tackle the mess in her burgled apartment. Upset when he hears she went home, Jae-in tells her to go to a coffee shop and wait for him, and wraps up work early. He’s by the elevator when Joo-hee suddenly hugs him from the back, and he pushes her off with distaste. She complains that he’s embarrassing her by reacting so harshly, but he tells her not to do things that will embarrass her, and turns down her invitation to get drinks.
Jae-in finds Da-hyun sitting on a bench by her building and asks if she’s okay, and she says to stop worrying, since she’s scared enough already. He says in that case she shouldn’t have come here alone, but she says it’s her home after all. He turns as to start walking and she looks closely at the back of his jacket, which has some whitish smudges on it, and smells his shoulders. (Uh-oh. Is that what I think it is?) “Did you really go to the hotel to work?” she asks. “You smell like makeup.”
Jae-in tries to smell his clothes, confused, and she points out he’ll have to change his suit jacket, too—it looks like someone hugged him from behind. He suddenly swears in realization, and Da-hyun takes that as an admission of guilt; it’s not like he takes the subway, she points out, so how can she trust him when he has makeup on his clothes at this hour? He tells her to trust him, that he didn’t do anything he shouldn’t, but she’s doubtful.
They enter her apartment to assess the damage, and Da-hyun confirms to Jae-in that nothing of value is missing (she includes her scrapbook of Ji-soo in this category, haha). She spots a bra on the floor and lunges to put it away, causing Jae-in to smirk. A sudden thought occurs to him, and he asks her where the contract for their relationship is. Da-hyun finds it, but is puzzled by its location outside the box she was keeping it in. As they head to the car, she wonders if this is going to be a problem. He says it’s most important that she’s safe; it’s his job to find out who is behind this.
She eyes his suit jacket again, and he takes it off and throws it in the backseat, but she keeps looking at it as they drive. She asks if that woman is at the hotel—is that why he wanted to sleep there last night? He protests that it’s not like that with Joo-hee, who’s just a woman he knows and ran into by chance, but she refuses to look at him. Giving in finally, she says she was just trying on the role of a jealous girlfriend… or was she? She teases him a bit more by going back and forth, making him laugh.
They shop for groceries, and Da-hyun asks if he wants ramyun. Jae-in says no, unless she’s by “ramyun” she’s indicating her intention to seduce him, in which case definitely yes. Da-hyun playfully slaps his arm, then suddenly remembers his injured shoulder—it was hurting so much that he couldn’t move it this morning, so why is it fine now? She smacks him gain at the realization that he tricked her.
She cooks dinner for him at his house, and when they sit down to eat, he gives her a key and tells her to stay here for a while. She says she can’t, since he’s a public figure and it would cause problems if someone were to see her. He asks if she’s worried about him, or about being caught up in a scandal with him. She says both—they can’t afford for things to get more complicated between them right now. “And I can’t fall for you.”
He asks if she thinks that might happen, and she says she thinks she’ll get attached to him, and she can’t afford that when they only have a couple of months left together. He acknowledges her point and asks that she stay just until they finish fixing up her place, and she nods.
That evening, Da-hyun sits looking at the calendar in her planner where she’s written “Last Day of Contract,” and sighs sadly. Jae-in, working late but unable to concentrate, looks at the same date on his phone.
Da-hyun is cooking in Jae-in’s kitchen when he arrives home, startling her, and he finds her crouched behind a cabinet, brandishing a ladle. She gets up with a sigh and admits she’s still shaken up by what happened. He hugs her from behind, telling her it’s okay, and when she asks why he’s home unusual early, he says it’s to make sure she’s all right.
Tae-ha’s father shows him the reason that Jae-in and Da-hyun are dating: Grandpa’s will. Not disclosing how he found out about it, he tells Tae-ha to go and seduce Da-hyun for himself, as the two aren’t in a real relationship. Tae-ha protests that even if it’s fake, he can’t go after his cousin’s girl, but his dad points out that the will only promises Jae-in the first chance. That means if he fails, someone else can have a try. Way to make this sound as gross as possible, Dad.
Jae-in asks Da-hyun if she has any requests since they’re renovating her place anyway, and she’s surprised, having thought they were just going to replace the locks. She chokes on her food when she finds out he bought the building, and says sarcastically that it must be nice to have money.
They meet Lawyer Park at a bar for drinks, and Joo-hee shows up, addressing Jae-in informally and asking who Da-hyun is. Jae-in says she doesn’t need to know, but she introduces herself anyway, and Da-hyun refuses the offer of a drink, commenting that she shouldn’t get drunk today. Joo-hee pulls Lawyer Park aside, and Jae-in pours Da-hyun a drink, saying he’s fine with another confession.
Lawyer Park tells Joo-hee that Da-hyun is Jae-in’s girlfriend, and they’re serious, so she’d better not interfere. She wonders why he’d date a woman like that, and when Lawyer Park replies, “He probably loves her,” she makes a face.
Employee Kang calls Jae-in from the police station, telling him they’ve caught the culprits of the burglary, but unfortunately there’s no evidence. Jae-in sighs that they’re back at square one, and tells him to find out when SH Mall’s shareholder meeting will take place.
Joo-hee corners Da-hyun in the bathroom, and with fake friendliness, warns Da-hyun that although Jae-in has a lot of attractive qualities, he’s not being sincere, so she shouldn’t get too caught up in her feelings for him. She cuts her eyes at Da-hyun’s dress and says his taste has really gone frumpy, before sauntering out.
Da-hyun splutters to herself, “Frumpy is his preference! Why didn’t I say that?” She calls herself an idiot, and scoffs at Jae-in’s earlier claims that nothing is going on. Da-hyun goes back out to see Joo-hee clinging to Jae-in’s arm as she talks, and asks him if they can leave.
In the car, she stares out the window and ignores Jae-in when he asks what’s wrong, and they ride home in silence. When they get out of the car, he traps her against the car (this again, dude?) and asks her why she’s mad. She puts on an exaggerated smile and he stumbles back in fright. She calls out in a sugary tone, “Jae-in-ah! Lee Jae-in!” and then tells him in her normal voice not to let “that woman you see every day” call him that. It’s only fair, she points out, since she can no longer call Sun-woo or Ji-soo “Oppa.”
He asks if she’s jealous, and she reflects on it and says maybe she is. This makes her even madder, though, and she storms inside. He smiles, saying to himself that she’s cute even when she’s angry, and rings the doorbell. She calls him a weirdo and lets him in, asking crossly if he doesn’t even know the passcode to his own house. He says he does; he just wanted to know how it feels to have someone open the door for him.
Da-hyun grabs a bottle of water and takes a calming drink. He tells her not to worry about Joo-hee, as he’s not the type to go around meeting just any woman. She says she’s not worried, just annoyed; besides, there are plenty of men who like her. Suddenly alert, he asks if Tae-ha has contacted her. She doesn’t know who Tae-ha is, but says it was a random guy who showed interest, and besides, people are always setting her up on blind dates. He warns her not to go on any, or he’ll show up with a kid on his back to fetch “Mommy.” Ha!
She tells him he’s being unfair when he’s the one going around seeing other women—she does her hilarious impression of Joo-hee again, saying they were probably embracing and that’s how the makeup got on him. “Now that I’m clearheaded, it ticks me off even more,” she mutters. He smiles and looks closely at her, asking if she’s sobered up. She agrees emphatically.
He grins and gets up, crosses to where she’s sitting and gives her a long, very thorough kiss. Drawing back, he says, “I’d better go, or we’ll be in trouble.” He touches her face and swaggers off, and she stares after him, frozen. After a moment she hugs a pillow and grins giddily into it, murmuring, “I guess you can get drunk on water too.”
Jae-in and Employee Kang puzzle over the fluctuating stock values of SH Mall and Hotel, wondering what’s going on, especially with the bomb threat they had recently. Employee Kang says the main branch is watching the situation too, and Jae-in reflects that Grandpa must have received word of this too—if he didn’t know all about it already. Employee Kang assures him that Grandpa isn’t behind all this, but Jae-in tells him not to trust the old man too much.
Employee Kang goes straight to Grandpa next, who really isn’t behind it; he trusts Jae-in’s instincts that something is wrong, though, and tells Employee Kang to look into it.
Renovations are complete, so Jae-in takes Da-hyun home to her rooftop apartment, now equipped with fingerprint recognition technology, a camera, and an upgraded interior, which he shows her proudly. She asks in dismay why he changed all her furniture out and he says it was old. He crumples up her poster of Ji-soo and when she protests, he tells her he’s being jealous,. He tells her to throw it away, since he doesn’t like her having a picture of another guy in her room. She pouts and smooths the poster.
A subdued Jae-in returns to his dark, empty house, although he smiles when he sees the plants Da-hyun bought for him. He sighs when he enters his empty bedroom. Da-hyun looks at her unfamiliar apartment, strangely unable to get used to it. In their own beds that night, they both lie awake.
This was a wonderfully constructed episode, perfectly addressing the aftermath of Da-hyun’s drunken confession in the previous episode with a light touch and a really lovely narrative throughline. The dual use of drunkenness and jealousy as instruments for revealing one’s feelings was well done, and I really enjoyed how what seemed like a throwaway line by Jae-in in the beginning of the episode came full circle at the end. He kept referring to it, teasingly asking for a sober confession that morning, and later urging her to drink at the bar because he was looking forward to another drunken one.
At first it bothered me a bit that he wanted her to be so clear about her feelings when he didn’t say anything in return, but then I realized that while it wasn’t super romantic, he did tell her he why he liked her after the Dress Incident, and he probably considers that his confession. Because I’ve noticed that it’s always Da-hyun who brings up the time limit on their relationship, who insists they can’t get married, while he essentially treats her like his real girlfriend. Take his simple statement to Employee Kang that he’s seriously dating her, with no qualifiers, even though he must know that the man knows all about Grandpa’s will. Or him giving her his house key and essentially telling her to move in—that’s a big deal for a guy who, in the past, broke up with a woman as soon as he had an inkling that she might have feelings for him.
Da-hyun, on the other hand, while usually a pretty forthright person, has trouble admitting her feelings for Jae-in when she’s not under the influence, because as she admitted to him when she declined his offer, she can’t afford to fall in love with him. It might be very obvious to both of them that she already has, but as long as she doesn’t admit it while she’s sober, she can still emerge at the end of this contract relationship with her dignity intact.
That’s why it made her so angry to admit that she was jealous of Joo-hee, and why Jae-in was so completely delighted when he realized that not only did she admit to her jealousy, she did it while sober, which means that she’s implicitly told him what she’s been denying ever since that first night she spent at his house: that she really likes him, maybe even loves him. And as off-putting as I found the return of Jae-in’s pushiness when they went to her remodeled apartment, the way he crumpled up Ji-soo’s poster with a proud “I’m being jealous” was pretty adorable. He was returning her confession, in his own awkwardly boorish way.
I’m pretty sure Da-hyun already got the message though, from that incredible kiss. It’s telling that she says she feels drunk right after—indicating that now she feels a freedom to express her emotions while sober that she previously only did when she was drunk. Now that the two of them are in unspoken accord, it’s time for them to find the courage to admit their feelings to each other honestly, and explore the possibility of a future together once the contract ends. I have a feeling this separation might help with that.