At this point, Jae-in and Da-hyun have fallen so hard for one another that they begin to wish that they had started off as anything but a contract-relationship couple. While Jae-in still faces a lot of pressure to get married to the “right” person, Da-hyun is the one taking the brunt of the external disapproval, and Jae-in couldn’t be more apologetic about it. But will it be enough?
EPISODE 12: “Her absence: It feels like my heart is going to disappear”
Arms folded, Joo-hee approaches Da-hyun and hostilely comments that she just knew there was something strange about Da-hyun dating Jae-in. Joo-hee demands that Da-hyun put an end to the contract with Jae-in and offers to give Da-hyun all the money she needs, adding that it’s about time for Da-hyun to disappear from Jae-in’s life anyway.
Da-hyun scoffs and asks Joo-hee, “Do you really think we’re only dating because of our contract?” Remarking that Joo-hee must not know Jae-in very well, Da-hyun reminds her that Jae-in’s not the type to be forced into doing something that he doesn’t want to do.
Da-hyun makes it clear that the two of them are dating because they like each other and refuses Joo-hee’s money, saying that she’ll be perfectly fine without it. Joo-hee looks away briefly before turning back to Da-hyun with a smirk.
Inside the reception hall, Jae-in looks around for Da-hyun, and notices Lawyer Park talking to two guests by himself. At his look, Lawyer Park quickly excuses himself to go search for Da-hyun.
Outside, Joo-hee asks Da-hyun, “Do you know why Jae-in and I broke up three years ago?” Before Da-hyun can respond, Joo-hee answers her own question: “It was because he wanted me to sign a prenup.” Just to keep it classy, she condescendingly wonders aloud about whether Da-hyun would be able to sign something like that.
Holding her own, Da-hyun replies that she’ll think about it when it happens. Joo-hee scoffs and asks Da-hyun if she really thinks she can marry Jae-in, spitting out slowly that Jae-in has been her man for the last three years.
Joo-hee tells Da-hyun that she’s in love with Jae-in, and Da-hyun cuts her off, telling her that she’s supposed to confess to the person she’s in love with, and not to his girlfriend. Buuuurn.
As Da-hyun starts to walk away, she turns around to add one last thing: “It’s not that Jae-in agreed to date me, but that I agreed to date him.”
Lawyer Park comes running in just then to check on Da-hyun, and one look at Joo-hee’s face tells him all he needs to know. He starts to lead Joo-hee away from Da-hyun, and Joo-hee roughly flings him off, walking away in the other direction.
Lawyer Park goes back inside the reception hall to inform Jae-in about Da-hyun’s whereabouts, and Jae-in leaves his guests to go talk to her. Outside, he walks over to Da-hyun and gently asks why she’s sitting outside all by herself.
She comments that this party isn’t very fun, and Jae-in agrees, remarking that for the people here, having a “party” just means talking about themselves the whole time. He asks if she wants him to grab some food for her, but she shakes her head no.
Breathing in deeply, Da-hyun extends her hand to Jae-in, and he looks at her quizzically. “Let’s go in together,” she suggests, and he quickly takes her hand as he smiles to hear that. He leads her towards the reception hall, and nearby, Joo-hee fumes to see Jae-in being so affectionate with Da-hyun.
Jae-in and Da-hyun walk through the doors hand in hand as Jae-in asks why she’s walking in with him when she had said that she wanted to show up separately before. Da-hyun agrees that she didn’t want to do it before, but now she does. Aw.
Jae-in leads her to a table, pulling out her chair for her like a true gentleman. But right as they’re about to start eating, Tae-ha’s mother walks up to them. Though Da-hyun greets her politely, Tae-ha’s mother isn’t interested in playing nice today, and simply tells her: “I don’t know what you may be thinking, but don’t even entertain the idea of Jae-in marrying you.”
Glaring, Jae-in gets up to defend Da-hyun from his aunt, but Tae-ha’s mother isn’t done with her caustic comments; she warns Da-hyun that Jae-in is someone who’s so desperate to become the heir of SH Group that he doesn’t even acknowledge his birth parents anymore.
Noticing the commotion, Jae-in’s mother steps in to reprimand Tae-ha’s mother for being so rude before turning to Da-hyun to apologize. Jae-in’s mother reminds Tae-ha’s mother that there are many people who are watching them, and advises her to go home, since she’s already said all that she wanted to say. Tae-ha’s mother gives Da-hyun a dirty look before stalking away. Tae-ha, meanwhile, watches everything from afar.
Jae-in’s mother asks Da-hyun if she’s all right, and though Da-hyun answers in the affirmative, Jae-in’s mother astutely notes that there’s no way Da-hyun could be fine after such an encounter as she remarks that Jae-in’s aunt has a special talent for hurting people’s feelings.
Jae-in introduces Da-hyun to his mother who greets her warmly, reassuring Da-hyun that there’s no one else here who would be rude to her. Jae-in’s mother walks off to greet a group of guests, and Jae-in barely has a second to tell Da-hyun not to worry about what just happened when his mother suddenly calls him over.
Alone again, Da-hyun sits down forlornly at the table by herself. Meanwhile, Jae-in’s mother takes Jae-in aside to remind him that he’s the host today as well as the heir to SH Group — he shouldn’t hang around one person for too long. “Anyone can manage Da-hyun,” she says, “but that isn’t the case with SH Group.” Chastised, Jae-in tells his mother that he understands.
Jae-in walks over to Da-hyun just as she gets ready to leave. He tells her that Grandpa will be here soon, but Da-hyun just responds that she has a bit of a headache.
Outside the reception hall, he offers to drive her home, but Da-hyun insists that he stay, knowing that he’s obligated to mingle with the other guests today. He gives her a rueful smile, and she takes her leave.
On the taxi ride home, Da-hyun stares out the window, lost in her own thoughts. Eyes slightly misty, she breathes out a sigh.
At Da-hyun’s house, Hyun-jin excitedly asks how everything went before noticing that Da-hyun seems rather glum. Da-hyun picks up a call from Jae-in, who asks if she’s feeling all right after what his aunt said to her. Da-hyun brushes it off by saying that she’s fine and urges him to get back to the party.
On the verge of tears, Da-hyun tells Hyun-jin that she feels like Jae-in lives in a different world. “Why does he have to be rich? Why is there such a huge difference between us?” she complains. Flashing back to Joo-hee’s comment about shoes that don’t fit, Da-hyun curses that this means the witch was right about everything.
Hyun-jin asks whether the witch that Da-hyun’s talking about is Joo-hee, and Da-hyun tells her that Joo-hee’s the mini-witch. “There was a witch who was even worse than Joo-hee,” she says, and when Hyun-jin looks at her curiously, Da-hyun sighs that it was Jae-in’s aunt.
At the reception, Lawyer Park informs Jae-in that Grandpa has arrived, but Jae-in is still worried about Da-hyun. At home, Da-hyun lies in bed staring at her phone.
The next day, Grandpa and Jae-in’s mother chat about Da-hyun, and Jae-in’s mother says candidly that she thinks Joo-hee is a better match for Jae-in. Jae-in’s mother tells Grandpa that Jae-in may be stoic, but he’s a filial son and takes good care of the people around him.
She doesn’t want his wife to be a burden for him on top of all the baggage that he already has, and she says that it’s time for someone to take care of Jae-in instead of the other way around.
At an Italian restaurant with Hyun-jin, Da-hyun is mindlessly playing with her spaghetti. Noticing her friend’s mood, Hyun-jin remarks that a day like this is more suited for drinking and takes Da-hyun to a beerhouse instead.
Da-hyun immediately downs a large glass of beer and says she wants more, which has Hyun-jin looking at her in shock. When Hyun-jin calls for another glass, Da-hyun shouts that they need two more before proceeding to down Hyun-jin’s beer, too. Oh boy.
Da-hyun pouts and wonders why she had to fall for Jae-in of all people, especially when he has such a nasty temper. Hyun-jin notes that falling in love is always like that — even if a person has ninety-nine bad traits and one good trait, if that one good trait catches your eye, then that’s what you’ll fall for, because that’s his charm.
She tells Da-hyun that she must’ve fallen for Jae-in’s charm that way, and even if no one else knows his charm, Da-hyun does. Da-hyun complains that that’s the problem, but Hyun-jin reassures Da-hyun that somewhere else, Jae-in is probably having a drink and thinking about her too. Da-hyun frowns and says that he’s probably not — he’s too busy to have the time to think about others.
A passerby accidentally knocks into Da-hyun, spilling some of her beer on her. Da-hyun goes to the bathroom to wash her hands, but when she leaves, Hyun-jin spots Da-hyun’s phone conveniently lying on the table and makes a call.
As Da-hyun and Hyun-jin stagger out of the restaurant, Jae-in arrives at the front. With a drunken smile, Da-hyun shouts his name and pats his face, and he wonders how much she had to drink.
Barely able to hold herself up, Da-hyun insists that she’s not drunk at all, and Jae-in fires back that she’s the very definition of drunk. He asks her why she didn’t pick up his calls, and she slurs that she wanted to get him angry — he got her super angry, so this is only fair.
Jae-in tells Hyun-jin that he needs to have a private chat with Da-hyun, and Hyun-jin, a little too entertained by this whole situation, jokingly asks if she really has to go. She wishes them a hot and passionate night together, but Jae-in insists that he’s just taking Da-hyun home.
At her home, Da-hyun slurs that she’s not curious at all, and Jae-in asks her what she’s going on about. He chuckles when Da-hyun continues to deny that she’s drunk, but goes silent when Da-hyun mumbles that she wishes they weren’t just dating because of some contract — better yet, Jae-in just shouldn’t have been born rich.
The mood turning serious, Jae-in sighs and comments that he’s not sure if she’ll understand what he’s saying since she’s drunk. He leans down, looking into Da-hyun’s eyes, and tells her that he feels the same way, adding that he’s sincere about it. He asks her, “Will you follow me, even though it may be hard? Do you want to be with me until the very end?”
Putting her hand on his cheek, Da-hyun responds, “Should we just do that, then?” She stumbles across her words, telling him that she really wants to do that, but they’re not supposed to — they can’t.
She buries her head in the crook of her arm, and Jae-in carries her to her bed. He watches her sleep, gently tucking away a wisp of her hair as he smiles lovingly.
The next day, a very hungover Da-hyun wakes up to a phone call from Hyun-jin, who asks what Jae-in said to her last night. Complaining that Hyun-jin’s too noisy, Da-hyun hangs up and goes back to sleep. But suddenly, her eyes fly open, and she sits up.
She flashes back to the night before when Jae-in had leaned in close to her, but she can’t quite recall what they had discussed, even though she has a feeling that it was something important.
At that moment, the doorbell rings. She checks the intercom, horrified to see Jae-in at the door. She rushes to the mirror to wipe off the drool and fix her hair, before slowly opening the door to ask what he wants. He says that they’re going to get breakfast, and chuckles to see that she didn’t even wash her face yet.
At the restaurant, Jae-in tells her that this place is known for its hangover soup, and asks her why she drank so much last night. Da-hyun insists that she has a high tolerance for alcohol right before commenting that she feels nauseous, ha.
In the car, Jae-in asks Da-hyun if she remembers what he said last night, and she asks him if it was something important. Hiding his slight disappointment, Jae-in tells her that it was nothing, and urges her to get to class.
In the evening, Joo-hee pays a visit to Lawyer Park, wanting to know why Jae-in is ignoring the business offer that comes with her when she knows that Jae-in is a skilled businessman.
Lawyer Park laughs that Jae-in gets plenty of offers like Joo-hee’s, and she pouts, saying that even still, Da-hyun’s not one of them. She comments that Jae-in probably wouldn’t have even given Da-hyun a second glance if not for the will, and Lawyer Park points out that that’s exactly why Da-hyun is so amazing — she doesn’t need money to convince Jae-in to love her.
He advises Joo-hee to move on, and Joo-hee wonders why she has to be the one to give up when she beats Da-hyun in terms of family, money, education, and connections. Lawyer Park surmises that there must be something special about Da-hyun that neither of them know about, but true to her character, Joo-hee is still undeterred.
Joo-hee asks if Da-hyun has a complicated past or if she has another man, and Lawyer Park can only laugh, saying that Da-hyun couldn’t possibly have another man — Jae-in’s not the type to let it happen.
A call comes in for Lawyer Park, and he walks out of the room, leaving Joo-hee to herself. She comments ominously that all she has to do now is get Da-hyun another man.
Da-hyun is working late at school when she gets a call from Jae-in, who promises to pick her up at night. After doing some more work, she gets ready to leave, remembering to take her cell phone with her. The school hallways are eerily dark as Da-hyun walks through them.
Jae-in’s car pulls up in front of the school, and he stands there, waiting for Da-hyun to come out.
At SH Mall, Tae-ha gets ready to go home for the night when he gets a sudden call from Joo-hee. She comments that it’s a good thing he’s still at work so late, and when he asks who she is, she introduces herself as Han Joo-hee from Hanjoo Chemicals.
Joo-hee glances back at the burly men in the car parked behind her, and the camera pans over to reveal Da-hyun lying unconscious in the backseat. So when Joo-hee said she was capable of being a lot more vicious, she meant kidnapping?
As the night goes on, Jae-in starts to worry that Da-hyun’s not coming out. He calls Hyun-jin to ask if she might know of Da-hyun’s whereabouts, and starts searching inside the school in the meantime.
At Tae-ha’s office, Joo-hee asks Tae-ha if he knows about his grandfather’s will, and he tells her to hurry up and get to the point. Joo-hee offers to help him get SH Group for himself, and while Tae-ha says he’s interested, he’s not a fool.
She hands him a hotel room keycard, and he looks at her suspiciously. Smiling, Joo-hee tells him that she caused just a tiny bit of trouble for his sake, and he can use that to get SH Group. All she needs is Jae-in, she says, and a dark look crosses Tae-ha’s face.
Jae-in is still searching the school when he makes another call to Da-hyun. He hears her phone ringing nearby and picks it up off the floor, realizing then that something is very, very wrong.
He runs around the school grounds hoping to find Da-hyun and quickly calls Employee Kang for help. Meanwhile, Tae-ha opens the door to the hotel room, and lets out a sigh when he sees Da-hyun in the bed.
Employee Kang calls Grandpa to let him know about the situation, reassuring him that they’ll definitely find out what happened. But Grandpa is infuriated, demanding to know what in the world Jae-in is doing with Da-hyun before hanging up angrily.
As Jae-in searches the school grounds, he gets a call from Tae-ha. He growls that if Tae-ha lays a single finger on Da-hyun, he’d better be prepared to deal with the consequences.
Jae-in rushes over to the hotel and pounds furiously on the door. Tae-ha opens it, only to have Jae-in throw a punch at him. Before Tae-ha can recover, Jae-in grabs him by the lapels, demanding to know where Da-hyun is and what Tae-ha’s done to her.
Tae-ha closes his eyes in frustration and tells Jae-in not to misunderstand — he didn’t do anything to her. Jae-in pushes him away and walks into the bedroom where Da-hyun is, and Tae-ha tells him not to worry — Da-hyun is just asleep under anesthesia.
Relieved to see her safe, Jae-in gently touches Da-hyun’s head and demands that Tae-ha call their family doctor anyway. When the doctor eventually takes his leave, Jae-in asks Tae-ha who was behind this.
Tae-ha asks why Jae-in doesn’t suspect him, and Jae-in responds that it doesn’t make sense for Tae-ha to have called him if he were the culprit. (So why did you punch the poor guy, then?)
Jae-in adds that he doesn’t think Tae-ha is dumb enough to do such a thing, and Tae-ha wonders if that’s a compliment or a warning. Jae-in corrects his cousin, saying that it’s his way of saying thanks, and Tae-ha smiles just the teensiest bit.
Tae-ha tells Jae-in that Joo-hee’s the one behind this scheme, telling Jae-in all about her plan to get him for herself. Jae-in is in disbelief that she would go this far.
Meanwhile, Hyun-jin is worried sick about Da-hyun and calls Jae-in, suggesting that they let the police know. Jae-in reassures her that he’s found Da-hyun, but when he tells her that he can’t put Da-hyun on the line because she’s asleep, Hyun-jin only becomes more incensed.
Jae-in and Tae-ha take Da-hyun to Jae-in’s house — with some complaining from Tae-ha about being relegated to the position of Jae-in’s chauffeur, ha — and after making sure that Da-hyun’s tucked in bed, Jae-in sits down to have a candid conversation with Tae-ha.
He urges Tae-ha to call him “hyung” now, saying that things have changed between them. Jae-in adds that it would benefit Tae-ha to call him hyung in front of others, too, and Tae-ha’s a little incredulous, asking if he should go around telling people not to mess with him because Jae-in’s his “hyung.” Jae-in says matter-of-factly that it just means Tae-ha’s someone he’ll be protecting from now on. Aww.
Jae-in asks Tae-ha what he wants from him, sure that Tae-ha must’ve called him for a reason. Turning serious, Tae-ha asks for complete management rights over SH Mall, and says that Jae-in must’ve noticed that there’s been something fishy going on.
Jae-in asks Tae-ha if he’s accusing his own father of manipulating the stock prices, and wonders if he’ll be able to handle the consequences of what happens next. Tae-ha simply responds that he can’t forgive his father for playing dirty.
Jae-in reminds Tae-ha that since his father is involved, there’s no winning scenario for him, and Tae-ha just tells Jae-in that he started off at SH Mall as a parking attendant, and he’s worked his way up here. SH Mall was his first job and his first love, he adds, and now his life revolves around it.
Tae-ha doesn’t want to see the mall simply handed over to someone else, and he’s not willing to play a losing game. Jae-in nods and immediately makes a call to the secretary of the main branch, letting him know that he has plans to return to the main branch soon. He asks the secretary to look into both Hanjoo Group and Tae-ha’s father, explaining that it’s related to work.
At Grandpa’s home, Grandpa comments to Employee Kang that Chairman Han has gotten a little too greedy in his old age. Employee Kang is concerned that Jae-in is going to try to get rid of Hanjoo Group, and worries that Jae-in might not be capable of going up against such a powerful company. Grandpa responds that Jae-in might not be able to destroy the company, but he certainly can get the owner changed at a board member’s meeting.
At home, Jae-in holds Da-hyun’s hand tightly in his own as he watches her sleep. He murmurs that he’s sorry, calling her by her nickname, Da-da, as he promises that nothing like this will ever happen again.
So it looks like Joo-hee’s brand of delusional has gone up another level; it’s not enough that she’s been harassing Da-hyun this whole time, but now she kidnaps her and tries to get Tae-ha to spend the night with her? That’s not just being vicious anymore — that’s illegal.
I know she’s supposed to be a crazy second lead, but I can’t help but question her logic. I imagine that she wanted Tae-ha to snap a few pictures of himself in bed with Da-hyun to prove to Jae-in that Da-hyun had another man all along, but it’s not like Jae-in would’ve come running to Joo-hee even if he did think Da-hyun were cheating on him. Besides, it’s not like Da-hyun would’ve been the type to take this kind of stuff sitting down, and there’s no way that Jae-in wouldn’t have discovered Joo-hee’s scheme sooner or later.
At any rate, I’m thrilled to find out that Tae-ha’s on our side, and I’ll admit I was a little worried that he would do something to Da-hyun. We’ve seen him show some moral fiber before, such as when he argued to his father that it wasn’t right for him to steal his cousin’s girlfriend, but he’s also acted suspiciously before, like spying on Da-hyun and taking pictures of her with Ji-soo. Add that to his antagonistic relationship with Jae-in, and the rules of dramaland just seemed to suggest that he would inevitably be one of the bad guys.
It was a nice surprise to have Tae-ha subvert expectations and turn on Joo-hee, especially when she was so confident that Tae-ha would be as evil as her. While Tae-ha is definitely ambitious (considering that he’s willing to take down his corrupt father in order to keep his position in SH Mall), Tae-ha’s not the type to give up his morals for that ambition, and it seems like that much has finally been made clear to Jae-in.
I was actually hoping that Jae-in would admit fault and apologize for sucker-punching Tae-ha, especially since Jae-in acknowledged afterward that it would make no sense for Tae-ha to be complicit in the crime. I guess Jae-in made up for it with his declaration that he’ll protect Tae-ha from now on. Do I smell the beginnings of a bromance?
Speaking of ambiguous characters though, I’m also a little thrown off by the unconventional motives of Jae-in’s mother. She clearly loves her son and she’s not unkind when she meets Da-hyun, despite the concerns she’s expressed about Jae-in marrying her. However, she does have one major flaw: She’s never asked Jae-in for his opinion. Who does he want to marry? What are his ambitions? Does he even want to inherit SH Group?
When Jae-in’s mother talked to Grandpa, it’s evident that she pressures Jae-in to be the heir because she wants the best for him; when she’s talking to Jae-in though, that pressure seems to be coming from a different place — I imagine Jae-in thinks that it’s his obligation to inherit SH Group because he’s her son. I wonder if Jae-in is trying a little too hard to live up to her expectations because he feels like he has to do everything that her real son would’ve done, and that’s why he’s reluctant to go against his mother. He knows that he’s basically all she has left, and he’s afraid of hurting her or disappointing her.
Ironically though, I feel like if he were to express his true feelings to his mom, she would eventually come around to accepting Da-hyun once she realizes how important Da-hyun is to him (not to mention how crazy Joo-hee is). Jae-in is clearly the type to take care of the people around him, but that doesn’t mean that Da-hyun is just a burden and does nothing for him in return — she’s made him into a warmer and happier person, and she’s just a bright presence in his life overall. If Jae-in were to explain to his mother that Da-hyun has been his greatest pillar of support, and that she’s the person who’s best for him on an emotional level, then I don’t think his mother would be too unreasonable about it.
The real problem now is how Da-hyun feels about being in Jae-in’s life; as she’s realized from the party, she and Jae-in live in very different worlds. Although Da-hyun’s main concern seems to be that she won’t be accepted by the people around Jae-in because she comes from an inferior background, I’m curious to know what Drunk Da-hyun meant when she said that they’re not supposed to be together for real, and that she really wants to — but they shouldn’t.
Is there a reason aside from disappointed parents? Is she worried that she won’t be able to adjust to his world of fancy formal parties and corporate ambition? Despite our couple being pretty honest about having sincere feelings for each other, both have been rather reluctant to ask one another to become official up until Jae-in suggesting it to Da-hyun in this episode. As soon as Sober Da-hyun remembers what happened, it’ll be time to figure out exactly what’s been holding her back.