Feelings continue to grow quietly and steadily as Da-hyun and Jae-in continue their unconventional relationship, and it’s clear to see that this is no longer just a forced connection. A special occasion causes them to learn more about each other, and as they grow closer, questions about their future together might be on the horizon soon enough. For now, let the adorableness continue.
EPISODE 7: “The Meaning of a Gift: From a mere memory to a treasured one”
Holding Da-hyun’s hand, Jae-in falls asleep on her shoulder after dinner as the restaurant empties around them. Sometime later, his phone wakes him, and she asks how much sleep he’s been getting lately. He tells her he’s gotten about four hours in the last three days, but teases her out of her worry, which makes her smile.
He takes her home, and when they’re saying goodnight, she asks for his phone and silences it, making him promise that he’ll ignore his phone and sleep until morning. At his protests, she tells him that if he does this, she’ll forgive him for making her wait for two hours. He agrees and says he’ll call her tomorrow, and turns to go.
He only takes a few steps before he turns and comes back, pulling her into a hug. “Sorry for making you wait,” he says. Da-hyun hugs him back, patting his shoulder gently.
At work the next day, Jae-in is back to his usual demanding self, and one of his employees complains that he must have a battery keeping him going. Da-hyun sees her students off at the end of the day, stamping “Well done!” on their palms as they leave.
The next day is July 25th, and Jae-in sighs when he sees the date on his clock, then looks over to the toy robot he made from the kit Da-hyun bought him. He meets his mother, who says she has something to give him—she hands him an envelope of papers and tells him her father has noticed that Jae-in’s uncle is up to something, which means Grandpa’s probably caught on too. Jae-in gives her a paper bag, telling her it’s a gift, though he’s unsure if she’ll like it as he’s never given her one before. Surprised, she takes it happily, telling him she’ll love anything he gives her. They smile at each other.
Back in his office, Jae-in tells his team to go home early since it’s the weekend, leaving them in complete shock. He’s on his way out himself when ex-fiancée Joo-hee shows up, saying she wants to talk to him. Joo-hee suggests they start over, but Jae-in scoffs, saying she has no feelings for him. Joo-hee points out that he’s not interested in love either, and someone like her can help him by uniting their two family businesses.
Jae-in says she’s right in that he doesn’t care about things like love, and that’s why he doesn’t need to pick her—he has plenty of better options to choose from. Joo-hee counters that his grandfather might disagree, and Jae-in tells her to go propose to him then. Ha.
Jae-in rushes to meet Da-hyun in a park and apologizes for being late, but she tells him it’s okay and pulls him down to sit next to her. She asks if he’s free today, and he says he’s busy, but he’s still making time for her. Da-hyun smiles and asks him what he wants to do. They can’t remember whose turn it is to pick something, so Jae-in suggests a work event.
Da-hyun pouts and asks him what he thinks is the most important thing in the world. “Money,” he replies simply, and she frowns as she asks him why he’s so obsessed with money when he’s a third-generation chaebol. He says that that money is Grandpa’s, not his, and he wants to earn his own fortune.
Just then, Jae-in sees a child fall into the path of an oncoming bicycle, and rushes over to move him out of the way, falling down himself in the process. He asks the kid if he’s okay and tells him to be more careful before nonchalantly coming back to Da-hyun’s side.
After a moment he grumpily asks her why she’s staring at him, but she simply smiles and stamps his hand with her “Well done!” stamp. He doesn’t know what it is at first, but when she tells him, patting his head and telling him he did a good job, he looks down at it and smiles like a little boy.
In her office, Jae-in’s mother opens his gift to see the toy robot he made, and is moved to tears. She takes the robot over to a bookshelf where a few others are displayed, along with a photo of her dead son. Smiling, she picks up the photo and tells him, “It looks like your little brother still remembers you as his hyung. He made the thing you loved the most and gave it to me.”
At Da-hyun’s suggestion, she and Jae-in go rollerblading, which is a first for both of them. Da-hyun says it’s because there wasn’t a skate park in her neighborhood, whereas Jae-in wasn’t allowed because it was dangerous. She says they can just do it together now, although he’ll probably break a bone because he’s so old. They laugh and skate together, with plenty of excuses for hand-holding and embracing as they learn.
Tae-ha has lunch with his mother, who tells him the story of Jae-in’s father—he left his family and the company for another woman, and Grandpa had cut him out of his life without blinking. She warns Tae-ha that the same thing could happen to him or Jae-in if they make a mistake. Tae-ha asks what would have happened if his uncle hadn’t adopted Jae-in, and she says he probably would have gone to Canada with his mother, but there’s no way to know for sure. She tells him not to lose to Jae-in in any way—he’s lacking in nothing but the last name Lee, and all he has to do is grab this opportunity.
As Jae-in teases Da-hyun after they finish rollerblading, her mother calls, asking to meet her boyfriend. She refuses, saying they’ve only been dating for three months (already?!) and she needs more time to make a decision about him. Once she hangs up, Jae-in says he’d be fine with meeting her parents, and she replies, “Then… do you want to get married?” Jae-in stares at her in shock, and she laughs, telling him not to say weird things since there’s no way the two of them could get married.
Afterward, Jae-in sits alone at a bar, thinking about her words. He looks at the stamp on his palm, remembering the moment she gave it to him, and runs his thumb over the fading mark. Lawyer Park joins him and notices his mood, but Jae-in assures his friend that nothing is wrong.
Da-hyun visits Hyun-jin’s store and shares the news that Ji-soo has moved to a new entertainment company. She asks Hyun-jin what guys normally like. She wants to do something nice for Jae-in since he helped Ji-soo so much. Hyun-jin jokingly suggests some super-expensive gifts, but then simply says, “A woman.”
Tae-ha confronts Jae-in at his hotel and asks him if he’s happy living someone else’s life. His cousin replies that’s he’s been Lee Jae-in of SH Group since he was born, and he’s never lost that status. “I’ve never once thought that I was living someone else’s life. And I’ve never given up on something I wanted to do because of someone else. But I can’t say the same for you.” Jae-in tells Tae-ha that if he wants to have a proper contest, he should break free from his parents’ influence first.
When Tae-ha arrives back at SH Mall, his minions alert him to Da-hyun’s presence there. She’s shopping for a present for Jae-in, when a little girl runs up to her and grabs at her skirt, crying for mommy. As she comforts the girl, Tae-ha appears and offers his help, and mother and child are soon reunited. Da-hyun thanks him, and he asks if he can buy her a meal in appreciation, as he’s just a lowly employee of the mall. When she declines, he asks for her phone number instead, so Da-hyun tells him she has a boyfriend and says goodbye, leaving Tae-ha flustered.
Da-hyun takes Jae-in to Hyun-jin’s store after hours, telling him she forgot something there. Turns out she borrowed it for a surprise birthday event, complete with a banner and streamers. She says she noticed on the contract that today is his birthday, and he says that he thinks that’s right. She puts a party hat on him and asks if he had seaweed soup this morning (a birthday tradition) or called his family, but he’s done neither.
He asks if he should have called and asked for presents at this age, and she says of course not; he should have thanked them for having and raising him. He repeats those words to himself as Da-hyun disappears for a moment and returns with a cake. She sings him the birthday song (though she skips “dear,” ha) and sets the cake in front of him, and he smiles down at it.
We flash back to another birthday when Jae-in’s friends sat around him, celebrating his birthday with cake and decorations. But the young Jae-in was suddenly taken away from the party and to a funeral for his elder brother, with his grieving mother attending. Oof. No wonder he never celebrates his birthday.
He gets a bit teary-eyed, lost in his memories, and Da-hyun urges him to make a wish and blow out his candles. Has he never done this before, either? He complies and says he says, it’s just been so long—twenty-three years. Da-hyun smears frosting on his nose and takes a picture of him, and he returns the favor. Da-hyun teases him for being unused to all this, and he says he just hasn’t done it much, because today is the anniversary of his hyung’s death.
Shocked, Da-hyun asked if it was his real brother, and Jae-in says he legally was, but actually, he was his older cousin. After hyung’s death, his mother adopted Jae-in. He tells Da-hyun not to look at him with pity, and though her eyes are teary, she says she isn’t; he has two wonderful mothers, after all.
But then he confesses that today, someone told him that he was living someone else’s life. Da-hyun scoffs that he would never do that with his personality; he doesn’t take orders from anyone, and he’s so stupidly stubborn. He asks her if that’s an insult but she says she has to tell the truth, even on his birthday, and they both laugh.
It’s time to open his present, and Da-hyun apologizes for not getting him a super expensive car or watch—that’s the type of thing Hyun-jin suggested, since her brother “Sun-woo Ajusshi” likes those things. Assuring her he already has that stuff and pleased at the way she addressed Sun-woo, Jae-in grins and opens his gift. It’s Jenga—something Da-hyun tells him he needs to help him get along with people. “8 and up?” asks Jae-in. “I thought you said I was an old man.” She’s prepared an adult-version present too though, a tie clip and cuff links. She says she wanted to get him a necktie to go with it, but she didn’t want him to say she had lascivious thoughts.
Not understanding, Jae-in presses her to explain, and she eventually shyly grabs his tie and brings his face close to hers. “You’re mine,” she says in banmal—that’s what Hyun-jin told her a tie means. He grins delightedly.
“Buy me a tie then,” Jae-in says. She tells him to take what he’s given, but he says it’s his first birthday present in twenty-three years, so she should get him what he wants. He tells her there’s one present that he really wants, though, and makes a kissing motion with his lips.
We don’t see what happens, as the next we see of them, he’s dropping her off at her door. She tells him to meet her near her school next time, but he says he’s busy. She replies that she’s busy too, adding that they should be fair by taking turns going to see each other and resolving each other’s issues. She reminds him of the line in their contract about respecting each other’s opinions too.
He smiles at her, and she wishes him happy birthday again. He takes her hands in his and thanks her, and she tells him goodbye. But before she goes, she turns and gives him a quick kiss on the lips, then runs inside.
When he gets home, Jae-in calls his mother. “Apparently it’s my birthday today,” he tells her, and tears stream down her face as she apologizes over and over. “Thank you for raising me well. I don’t think I’ve ever thanked you,” he says. She thanks him, both crying as they say goodbye. Looking at the gifts Da-hyun gave him, Jae-in smiles.
After work on another day, Da-hyun texts Jae-in to cancel their date, saying something urgent has come up, and that now they’re even for him standing her up last time. Jae-in asks what the urgent matter is, but she doesn’t reply.
This was a lovely episode, with Jae-in and Da-hyun acting like a real couple in so many small ways that were much more indicative of their growing affection than any grand declarations would be. I loved the small details, like her grabbing his arm and pulling him along at times (hey, at least there’s equal opportunity wrist-grabbing now), and the way they teased each other in a very easy, natural way. I was surprised that three months have passed, but it does make sense that it would take them that much time to develop this rapport, and it makes it seem more believable.
What I liked the most about the change in their relationship is how gentle they are with each other now, what with the way Da-hyun worries for his health and the way Jae-in really listens to her and treats her with respect. I was proud of him for apologizing to her in the beginning of the episode even though she let him off the hook in her usual unselfish way, because I have the feeling that he’s not in the habit of saying sorry.
He looks at her with so much admiration and affection in his gaze—kudos to Ha Suk-jin for conveying so much emotion with a single look—and he really takes her words to heart. I was touched by how much it meant to him when she gave him the “Well done” stamp, and how he immediately went home and put her advice about calling his family into practice, healing an unspoken wound between him and his mother that was twenty-three years in the making.
The moments with Jae-in’s mother were moving as well, because despite their obvious love for each other, there must have been some distance between them judging by how shocked and pleased she was to receive his present. It was very sweet of him to give the toy robot to her, knowing the significance of it on this day, and the fact that it was originally Da-hyun’s gift to him is very illustrative of her positive influence in his life. Overtly and implicitly, she is bringing him closer to the people around him, which she knows he needs help with, as she said when he opened up the Jenga gift. She seems to recognize his loneliness, and also seems to have committed herself to helping him overcome his isolation from others during their time together—and she approaches it in an adorably teacherly way.
You could tell that really hit home for Jae-in in this episode, and I have a feeling he’s not going to let her go so easily in another three months. His lack of a response when Da-hyun jokingly suggested they get married was indicative of that, as were his constant loving gazes this whole episode. Da-hyun obviously feels some affection for him too, as evidenced by the birthday surprise and her kiss at the end, but it remains to be seen how far along the path to love she has come.