Where the heart goes, the lips tooDrained from a day of pretending marital bliss, JinHo and GaeIn collapse on their butts as soon as they get home. “Aigoo,” GaeIn huffs, much like an old ahjumma. JinHo also gathers his energy, although more quietly. GaeIn looks on the bright side, “Because of our part time gig today, looks like we’ll have enough side dishes for a month.” JinHo glances at her but says nothing, too tired to converse. GaeIn rattles on, “In all the 10 years I’ve known YoungSun, this is the most food she’s ever packed for me. It’s all because of you, JinHo-sshi! What a difference from her usual!” She’s oohing and aahing at the colorful array of pickled, marinated and egg-fried banchan.
JinHo rolls his eyes, pretending to be annoyed, but he’s half-smiling, pleased that she’s pleased by all the food. He’s also amused by her child-like glee over the edible payment and her over exaggerated noises of delight. This girl likes food—a lot. She tries to get him to try some of it and holds it out for him between her fingertips. Of course, he complains about her unsanitary ways, “Uh, so dirty…without even washing your hands first…” She ignores his complaints and keeps insisting he sample. As always, he gives in and accepts the bite from her fingers. “It’s good? Right?” she asks eagerly. He mumbles, “Hmmm.” Focus still on being clean, he asks if she wants to wash up first, to which she replies she can’t for a few days anyway. He mutters as he gets up, “It’s not like you’re normally so diligent about washing to begin with.”
Now, at a house not built upon dreams like Sangojae but on a series of shattered ones, Casa del Conceited is alive with angry yelling (unsurprisingly). ChangYul is pleading with InHee to accompany him on a visit with one of his mothers; it’s her wish to have a meal with her son and her new daughter-in-law. “I don’t want to!” InHee screams like a banshee. “Why do I have to do something like that? I’m not that old lady’s daughter-in-law!” She has a point, of course, as she isn’t married to ChangYul and the predicament is his own damn fault, as he won’t tell his mothers the truth. On the other hand, a nice person wouldn’t find the thought of one measly meal with an elder as hugely an Herculean task as InHee does.
ChangYul tries to appeal to the goodness within, apparently under the mis-impression that InHee had found time to visit the Wizard and has been told where to find her heart. “When we end it between us, we’ll end it properly, but right now, I’m asking you for this favor.” Not only is InHee completely uninterested in offering even a crumb of kindness to ChangYul but she also takes the opportunity to tell him how subnormal it is for him to cater to his string of ex-stepmoms. “It’s not like there’s only one or two of them but seven,” she snarks. ChangYul doesn’t like her demeaning his mothers, because to him, each and every one of them are special.
Disgusted, she tells him this yet another example of his weakling ways, just as he can’t completely cut GaeIn out of his heart, he can’t cut out all these other women either. “I’d rather die than pretend to be a daughter-in-law so don’t bother me with these kinds of things ever again!” ChangYul shouts after her, “Hey! Kim InHee! Kim InHee!” It doesn’t matter how long or how loud he calls her name, the simple fact is, InHee couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone’s feelings but her own. On the phone with his mother, ChangYul can’t get out of the promise he made without InHee’s consent. He says into the call, “Of course we’ll be there…what’s so difficult about having one last meal with my mother…?”
JinHo is spending a rare moment alone at Sangojae, his feet soaking in a hydro foot massaging gizmo, courtesy of GaeIn’s efforts to thank him for his suffering at the photo shoot. It’s a pretty little compact lavender gadget. He stares at the water swirling around his feet. Exhaling contently, he plays with the letters of his new home, “Sangojae…Sangojae is…go…agony inducing…jae…jinxed my way into this house…Park GaeIn is…Gae…without greed…and In…inhuman-like.” He’s smiling to himself when his bedroom door rattles open. “Please knock before entering!” JinHo grumbles when GaeIn breezes in with a tray of lemon tea. “From my heart,” she tells him as she serves him the drink. She asks if he would like a massage, too, since he gave her one the night before. He replies briskly, “No, thank you.” She proceeds to wrestle with his upper thigh anyway. He pulls his leg away and slaps her hand away from the highly sensitive area. “I told you not to,” he tells her snappishly. “Go outside and go about your own business.” She accedes but tells him to save the water for her so she can use it after he’s done. He thinks that’s gross and gripes, “No matter how much I try to teach her…” He glances at the lemon tea she’s brewed for him. Taking a sip, he smiles. From her heart. Not bad.
In the evening, GaeIn is calling for him to come out for dinner. She’s marveling at the spread on the table. “This is what you would call a real feast!” she declares. She immediately attacks a large bowl of rice and just as quickly, JinHo takes it away from her. “Do you really think you’ve become a woman?” he scolds. She doesn’t understand what he means, as she’s proved her ability at the party. She even incited jealous anger from ChangYul, glares from him that hinted at some dumping-regret. JinHo can’t believe her simple-mindedness; he informs her that she didn’t do anything impressive at the party and second, ChangYul’s jealous reaction was less about her and more about his rivalry with JinHo. In fact, all she did at the party was stress JinHo out all night and put him through all kinds of trouble. All true, as she did cause a commotion with HyeMi and had sent him on an absurd personal errand. He dares her to imagine a man that would actually be interested in a woman who, not only can’t manage her own affairs, but isn’t prepared for them either.
GaeIn suggests they continue their serious talk later and eat before she perishes from hunger. He takes away her full rice bowl and gives her only a scoopful from it. She gasps at the paltry amount, “And who’s booger is that supposed to be?!” He doesn’t like her common-speak and tells her to communicate more eloquently. He flutters his own voice and in a female pitch, “I’m normally a light-eater so I’ll only have a little.” Then orders, “Now, you try it.” Through gritted teeth, she mimics, with a twist, “I’m normally a light-eater so I’ll only stuff my face a little.” In the end, she gives in to the small portion and angrily bangs her chopsticks on the table. He again nitpicks at her lack of elegance. She ignores him and starts eating. “Park Gae-In-sshi!” he calls out, but she’s too busy chowing down. Their bickering is becoming more and more like a married couple and less and less like teacher and student.
Any spare time he’s able, JinHo sketches Sangojae. And that’s exactly what he’s doing, cross-legged in the courtyard, when GaeIn noisily hauls out her creation: a coat rack. The piece’s most notable feature is a bird’s nest resting on its peak. JinHo closes his sketchbook before she can see what he’s doodling. GaeIn tells him this is a token of her appreciation for his efforts the night before, driving all the way home in the dead of night to pick up medicine for her. This is the kind of thoughtful person she is, she informs him, although there is definitely a bit of sass in her tone. She is still a bit sour at his stinginess at dinner. To make extra sure he gets the point, she says, “Trying to make this after eating only half a bowl of rice…I thought I was going die from my aching back! Do you like it? Do you?” He’s studies the woodwork. “Well…it looks passably usable,” he allows and she’s amazed, simply amazed at his way with extravagant flattery. His expression is soft and touched, and more than a little amused at her sarcasm. “Oh, this person…” she snits at him, then sighs, “I’m so hungry that I’m too weak to even waste words on you.” Since JinHo knows the fastest way to her heart, he asks, “Want to go out for some noodles?”
They’re at food court at a rest stop and she’s practically shaking with excitement as she waits for JinHo to come back with the food. Sometimes she really does resemble a trembling puppy waiting for love and affection. She claps happily when JinHo places the bowl of noodles in front of her. “I can eat all of this?” she asks, hopefully and happily. He smiles, “Eat up.” She cheers loudly, “Ahsa! Woohoo!” At his startled expression, she quickly retracts, “I’d only do something like that in front of you, JinHo, not a man.” It’s the right words for a coach to hear, but JinHo doesn’t gladly accept the unintentional insult at his manhood, as she is again drawing the line between datable men and JinHo. Bringing the conversation back to food, she asks what’s the occasion, letting her eat like this when keeping her starving is his favorite torture method. JinHo says it’s just a token of gratitude for the coat rack. That’s all the reason she needs to scarf down.
On their way out, ice cream cones in hand, she burps. He glowers at her. “I won’t ever do this in front of another man!” she promises. When she leans in and hugs his arm, he shrugs her off, “Stop being so grabby.” Unfazed at his crabbiness, she asks, “Do you come to this place often?” He tells her he sometimes comes to the rest stop for a snack when he’s working late. This is not a secret spot, of course, but nevertheless, one that is a place of comfort for him and it is interesting that he brings her here, a very real part of his life, something that reveals a part of his routine away from Sangojae and architecture. A part that gives insight into what makes the person Jeon JinHo tick, not the career-driven man. GaeIn also senses something significant about the locale. She comments, “There’s noodle shops everywhere, why come all the way out here?” He’s thoughtful, “Because it feels like you’re setting off on a trip.” She stops and regards him in surprise, the answer much more circumspect than she’d expected. He goes on to explain, “This is place where travelers come for a little while before continuing on with their trips.” GaeIn asks if he’s been on lots of trips while growing up or even during college. He says no, once with his father, but not since. At college, he spent most of his time in the library. She exclaims that she knew it, the kids that only focused on studying were the one’s that turned out exactly like him, nasty in personality and fussy about food. He smiles at that, as she intended it to be silly and he accepts it for what it is, levity between friends.
JinHo confides that the reason why he was so driven in his studies, and is still driven, is his desire to reclaim what is lost. Naturally, GaeIn asks what it is he is trying to get back. That reminds JinHo of Sangojae and the lies he has told GaeIn up until now. The many falsehoods that linger between them even as they stand in this moment, side by side, enjoying ice cream and friendship. This is not an answer he is ready to give her honestly, not tonight. “Let’s go,” he says instead and starts walking again.
She hurries after him and grabs onto his arm. “When you find what you lost and you finally get to go on your trip, you have to take me with you, okay? You have to! Okay? Okay?” He stares at her. She looks up at him hopefully. He moves away, tossing back, “Why? So you can make me suffer the whole time?” Naturally, since she does seem to put him through all kinds of trouble whenever she’s around him, such as getting pads in the middle of a business party, he’s probably not too far from predicting the most likely scenario. GaeIn promises him that she’ll do everything he says and listen really well, even carry all the luggage! He pauses, “Really?” She smiles winningly, “So you have to take me with you, ok?!” He allows, “I’ll think about it.” She can’t believe he can’t even pretend to agree to make her feel good. She chases after him on the sidewalk, all the while continuing to plead her case for the job of vacation buddy.
In the car, she wants to play the ‘Word Ending’ game where they must use the last syllable of one word to make the next word. She thinks it’s so childish it’ll be fun. He grumbles, “I don’t want to play.” As usual, she ignores him and throws out a word anyway. He’s the competitive type that can’t help but throw a word back. She laughs. GaeIn has quickly learned in their short period together that despite JinHo’s prickly nature, he’s agreeable to almost everything she asks of him. He’s like a hedgehog, poky on the outside, but cute and cuddly on the inside. As JinHo is busy thinking of the next word in their game, GaeIn thinks to herself that because of this new friend, who is neither woman nor man to her, it is like a fresh breath of spring passing through her life and bringing contentment to her heart. But there is also another feeling there, something new and unfamiliar and dizzying. The contemplative smile she gives JinHo is one that understands that her feelings for her new friend may become more complicated the more she becomes attached to him.
President Han has gone to visit Chairman Choi, the man who is both judge and gavel for all decisions concerning the MS Group, parent company to the Dam Art Gallery. The Mirae Contruction boss is doing what he does best, which is the dirty job of kissing some undeserving rich butt. With his schmoozy, extra-syrupy voice, he’s laying it on pretty thick about what an inspirational individual Chairman Choi is, a man who is accomplishing something amazing with the Dam Art Gallery, a man of unparalleled vision. President Han tells the other that while he himself is a man of enterprise, he is nothing compared to Chairman Choi. Completely taken in, Chairman Choi smiles, “That kind of high praise should be reserved for when this gallery is actually completed.” Despite the modest words, clearly the MS Group head honcho agrees with President Han’s insincere praise, believing in his own greatness. After properly greasing the pan, President Han goes to grilling the actual meat. “That’s why I can’t help but mention this…I wonder if unnecessary time is being wasted in this project.” In his best mimicry of sincerity, President Han says he’s very concerned about all the unqualified riffraff crawling out of the woodwork to compete for the lucrative contract. After all, for a project as significant as the Dam Art Gallery, shouldn’t only those capable of handling such a large job compete? The ambitious architect assures Chairman Choi he’s just trying to be helpful, it is but a marinating thought. The MS Group boss finds this new information troubling. Yes, he agrees, this is definitely something to deliberate over. President Han’s face is that of a little boy who has just stolen a cookie from the hidden treat jar. He is that pleased with himself.
At the Dam Art Gallery, GaeIn arrives for her meeting with Director Choi. She is fashionably dressed and very professionally put-together. InHee spots her and wants to know why GaeIn is at the gallery. For a brief second, InHee probably wonders if GaeIn has come to see her but Director Choi promptly comes down the stairs to the lobby and welcomes his guest, “Ah, Park GaIn-sshi, right on time.” Ever the king of understatement and dead-pan commentary, Director Choi matter-of-factly acknowledges that the two women are well acquainted with one another and probably do not require an introduction by him. At InHee’s frozen expression, he explains, “It’s my intent to entrust Park GaeIn-sshi with the new children’s rest area.” InHee is definitely not pleased that GaeIn is invading her territory.
Director Choi wants to develop a play area for young kids while their parents explore the gallery. GaeIn has come to meet with Director Choi under the impression that she would be designing the children’s furniture only but the Director wants her to design the whole thing, from concept to final product. He is confident that as Professor Park’s daughter, his talent has surely passed onto her. GaeIn isn’t sure that she has the required talent to be lead on such a huge project and furthermore, if Director Choi only wants to hire her on the merits of her father, then she doesn’t want to take the job.
But Director Choi assures her that his certainty of her competence is based on the furniture piece she built for the dokbokki stand and nothing else. He is a man that knows what he likes and as soon as he saw that small chair, he knew immediately: “I thought to myself, ah, this is a person that, together, I will be able to build my dream space.” When GaeIn still hesitates, Director Choi wonders aloud, “Don’t you want to prove to yourself that you can do this? To see how far you can reach?” Something in his words must have pricked her pride, or even inspired, as she promises she will, if nothing else, try her very best.
Director Choi is a man of business but he is not heartless. Right before they part ways, he asks her, “Will you be alright? You’ll be coming here often and bump into Kim InHee frequently.” At her surprise, he explains, “I saw you at her wedding.” GaeIn acknowledges that it will be uncomfortable for her, but she doesn’t want to let herself down again and so she’ll bear it and do her best for the gallery. Director Choi gives her a look that almost seems proud. He comments, “Maybe it’s because the two of you are friends, but you and Jeon JinHo seem so very different, yet somehow, also the same.” She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. She is unsure what Director Choi means by the comment, if it was said in compliment or critique.
Back at the office of this friend with whom GaeIn shares a similarity, M Construction has been dealt a brutal blow. SangJoon is on the computer when he exclaims, “What is this? This makes no sense!” The minimum qualifications for entering the contest for the Dam Art Gallery bid has been updated—by the MS Group. The new requirements call for at least 10 years of field experience, 3 successful overseas projects and 10 jobs that exceeded $500,000 in scope. TaeHoon is in disbelief, “Exactly how many firms can actually compete with these kinds of qualifications!?” SangJoon unnecessarily spells it out for everyone, “They’re basically telling all the hole-in-the wall nobodies like us to not even bother trying.” He turns to JinHo, “What are we going to do now?” JinHo is staring at the email from MS Group with a face nothing less than arctic in its tightly-controlled fury.
It seems as if President Han’s earlier assertion to ChangYul was correct, that Chairman Choi only wanted to create the illusion of authority for his son, not actually give him any. Director Choi also realizes this when he learns his father has gone behind his back to add the new oppressive conditions. He storms into his father’s office at MS Group demanding to know what the reasons are for his interference. “When it comes to business, you are too naïve,” his father says coldly. Director Choi says the new extreme rules will block out most of the competition and he’s [understandably] furious it will choke out creativity and innovation. His father sees it differently. He points out that without the minimum provisions, those who were not even qualified to compete have snuck into the ranks and he will not allow those impostors to ruin the Dam Art Gallery project. For the first time, we see Director Choi’s composed façade crack, as most everyone’s Achilles Heel is often a parental rebuke, “Didn’t you say that the Dam Art Gallery will be mine and mine alone?” His father corrects, “Since you had no interest in MS Group, I was only allowing you to try at something you liked.” Director Choi argues, “Then you should trust me to the very end. Didn’t you promise that I could finally relax and pursue what I loved in my own way?” Chairman Choi curtly informs his son that he has a right to meddle at least this much, if he desires. Since his father does not seem willing to back down, Director Choi gives the older man his final ultimatum, “If you’re going to continue to be this way, you’ll leave me no choice but to leave. Again.” The perturbed look that crosses his father’s face tells us that the older man knows this is not an empty threat by his son, and credit to Director Choi, it is an effective fighting stance.
This is a world where a battle of wills between fathers and sons (and fathers and daughters) are raging in all corners, some in secret, some more openly. From the smoke of past battles to the red embers of ones currently being fought, it is about the newer generation fighting
Somewhere across town, another father and son are also dueling for power, different people, but the older generation’s need to control and the younger one’s desire to prove still the same. “You don’t have any faith in me, do you?” ChangYul is asking his father, who only snorts in reply. ChangYul insists, “Isn’t that what you’re telling me? Even though I told you over and over that I can beat Jeon JinHo, you won’t even let him step foot in the ring.” His father wants to know if ChangYul knows why, back in the olden times, at least three generations of a treasoner were killed? Because it isn’t enough to simply cut out the father, the offspring must also be cut out of the equation. “Father, this isn’t fighting with our bare fists,” ChangYul complains, “this is still fighting with rocks hidden—” President Han has heard enough, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about ChangYul’s desire to prove himself by playing fair, the point of a fight, according the skunk-haired architect, is to WIN, at any and all costs! “You stupid idiot,” he barks. He thinks his son should just thank him instead of whining like an insolent fool.
Another reason why ChangYul is not feeling very grateful to his father this day? The older man has called for InHee to come to Mirae Construction for a chat. With motives that have nothing to do with love or happiness for the young ex-couple, President Han tells InHee that once he accepts someone into his family’s embrace, he stands by his word. InHee interrupts the President’s sniveling to inform him that everything has already been settled between ChangYul and herself, as in, it’s over. Consistently cowardly in all things, ChangYul doesn’t want to tell the truth about their break up to his father and he grimaces at InHee’s blunt honesty. ChangYul wants to talk to her outside. He yanks on her arm while she resists. They struggle like bickering children until his father shouts for both of them to sit back down.
InHee further provokes the Han men by informing them that she has no intention of spending the rest of her life with a sniveling, spineless coward like ChangYul. Well, unsurprisingly, that is not received well by the older sniveling, spineless coward and President Han surmises that it was his fault for even willing to accept a nobody like her into his family in the first place. Despite the fact that their entire clan opposed, he accepted her because his son had begged him. Doesn’t she realize that she was never even good enough for their esteemed family? She knows all too well: “I was grateful that a man of ChangYul’s status loved me and I, too, thought I was in love with him. But despite all his lofty connections, I realized there was a problem. On the day of the wedding, I realized with certainty what I kind of man I really wanted.” Essentially, she realized she didn’t want a sniveling, spineless coward but someone she could trust completely. “And that’s why it can’t be ChangYul,” she concludes. ChangYul is looking at her with a face of complete disbelief, he is likely thinking what all of the sane world is thinking: what a load of bull-crapping hypocrisy! But unlike a third party observer, there is also hurt in his expression, one that tells of a man who already knows his own limitations and can’t believe he’s being stabbed in the back with it, worse, the sword’s edge of truth is being wielded by someone he’d thought loved him despite his flaws. Was this really the woman he had thought to spend the rest of his life with?
Frankly, they should both count their blessings. A broken leg needs a whole one for support and these two are people too broken for one another.
“Kim InHee!” ChangYul yells after her as she storms out. “Wow, you are a formidable person, Kim InHee,” he says and it is most definitely not a compliment. He’s surprised she’s willing to spit back the kind of luxurious lifestyle awarded to the madam of Han Construction without a second thought. “In your eyes, am I that pathetic?” he wants to know. Is he so worthless that she’s willing throw away all the money and comfort that comes with marrying him? She sneers, “Do you need it explained to you again? Wasn’t I clear enough in front of the President?” He grabs her arm and drags her out. No point in putting on a show and finishing this fight while office ears can eavesdrop and spread gossip.
They relocate to a more docile location, by the water, by a bridge. More docile but also more somber. In kdramas, bridges and the waters that run beneath them are bad omens. As the famous song goes, bridges are often over troubled waters. “Why did you do that?” ChangYul wants to know, but he’s not asking about today, or even yesterday. But a more important date, a long while ago. “That day.” He recalls the night it all changed for him. After getting drunk on liquid courage, he had been determined to finally spend the night with GaeIn. That night when he was at his lowest, after yet another rejection from his girlfriend, he bumped into InHee outside the front door and she said to him, “ChangYul-sshi, you didn’t succeed again? Let’s go. I’ll buy you another drink.” In that drunken haze, he’d asked InHee why GaeIn couldn’t recognize the boiling passion that ran through his blood, why she didn’t accept him as a man? That night, InHee had changed their relationship forever by saying to him, “I see you.”
Back to the passing daylight by the bridge, ChangYul sighs, “It was from that day on I felt myself waver. I stopped seeing GaeIn and started looking only at you. That’s why even though I knew I was doing something that I deserved to die for, I still wanted to marry you. So tell me, that night, why did you do it? For my money? My credentials? Why did you approach me?” Her answer is both too pathetic and too honest. “Because you were this man that GaeIn loved so much, I started to wonder, what about him is so great? Whenever I came home, she would constantly talk about her ChangYul-sshi; I thought it was interesting, this version of GaeIn, who talked about her ChangYul-sshi all night long until she went to bed. For her, you were a once-in-a-lifetime deal of man.”
ChangYul finally gets it, really truly gets it. He traded in GaeIn, someone who had genuinely loved him, for someone who had never even known him. He asks, “What you’re saying is, you fell in love with the man GaeIn loved, but it turned out, I wasn’t that man?” She confirms, “Yes. That’s exactly it. The man I fell in love with was only a fantasy in GaeIn’s imagination, it wasn’t really you.” And that is why he will never be the one for her. She tells him people can’t go on living their entire lives holding onto a fantasy.
What InHee doesn’t realize is that love itself is a dream and a fantasy; like beauty, it only ever exists in the eye of the beholder. She wanted love so she took someone else’s but stolen love is but a shell of the word, not the intangible emotion it promises.
At M Construction, after the crippling news, Jeon JinHo is in his office reclining in his chair, eyes closed and probably wondering what sort of unlucky star he was born under. Just then, TaeHoon bursts in and through his father’s connections, he has learned that the new regulations were the product of manipulation by President Han of Mirae Construction. SangJoon states the obvious, “He must have really been afraid of us. He probably cooked this whole thing up with that asshole ChangYul just to get us kicked out of the competition.” JinHo clenches his fist and makes a beeline for the art gallery.
Of course, Director Choi is out having his own confrontation elsewhere. InHee feels bad for JinHo but she gives him further bad news: Chairman Choi of MS Group is not the type of man to change his mind once a decision has been made and although the Director has gone to plead his case, InHee doubts it’ll do much good. She asks, “Want to go for a drink?” She’s a little too eager and he’s far too upset to want her company. “I’ll have to decline for today,” he tells her dully. When she asks for a ride home, he apologizes but he can’t do that for her today either. InHee regards him in disappointment as he walks away.
JinHo has declined a drink with InHee in order get wasted by himself at a curbside liquor stand. He recalls the day President Han and ChangYul stole his childhood, the day he carried his Lego model in his arms and was forced out of his own home. He slams his empty shot glass down. He is so drunk that he can barely stand up straight. In fact, he stays vertical for just a few seconds before slamming into concrete and sending soju bottles shattering. At Sangojae, GaeIn is sketching and frequently checking the clock, wondering why JinHo isn’t coming home.
Night has fallen everywhere in the city. At the condo, ChangYul has been waiting for InHee to come home from work. When she arrives, he tells her he’s moving out and she can have the house. “And...I’m really sorry that I disappointed you.” He offers her his hand for a parting handshake. She accepts it gingerly. A coward, maybe, but still he was a man who had been in love with her and that been real. He advises her regretfully but in a voice that still cares, “In the future, don’t confuse fantasy and reality. Live happily.” For the first time, her face crumples, genuinely crumples. No defenses, no justification, no smirk. A moment of genuine regret. “I’m sorry…” she calls out to his back. He pauses and turns halfway. She finishes softly, “…for getting in the way…of ChangYul and GaeIn’s love.” He shuts his eyes for a moment, because that is truly where the true tragedy lies and he knows it, in hurting GaeIn, he had only hurt himself. He had lost more. He may have even lost the very thing he had always wanted, a girl who could love him with all her heart.
Still speaking in a tone full of gentleness, but completely heartbroken, he advises, “Next time, love the person you want to love, not someone else’s.” In these words, in his final kind gesture, InHee is offered a glimpse into the man GaeIn had loved, the kind-hearted ChangYul who only wanted to find love. Like InHee. Like GaeIn. He wants InHee to know that he really had loved her, that he had wanted to protect and care for her. His love for her had never been a lie. Not for him. Tears fall down InHee’s face, she can’t stop them from spilling. She makes a hesitant move toward ChangYul’s retreating steps, but in the end, she stays in place while he closes the door behind her, behind them. It is the final sound of a door locking. On the other side, he listens to her loud sobs and his own tears fall.
GaeIn is outside Sangojae wondering if JinHo went home, his real home. “Guess he’s not coming,” she mutters sadly. Only a day was spent apart but without even a phone call to tell her where he’s hiding, she’s already missing his presence. She’s sitting on the front steps, waiting glumly when heavy footfalls scrape the street. Her face lights up when she sees him stumbling towards her. She runs to him and realizes he’s completely skunked! JinHo notices her and points, “Oh! It’s you, my friend Park GaeIn!” Her jaw is on the floor. She’s never seen JinHo this out of his skin, so out of control. He grabs onto her with a huge blazing grin on his face. He is happy because all drunk people are happy. That’s why sad people drink. To find a place in emptiness where they can pretend that living is not an enemy.
“Oh…the smell…! Exactly how much did you drink?” she wants to know as she slings one of his arms over her shoulders and tries to help him walk. He titters, “Park GaeIn, my friend, my foe!” He happily extols the anti-virtues of his friend Park GaeIn, who is flaky, unconcerned and aimless in life.
Worriedly, she half-drags him into the house and tries to pour honey water down his throat. She’s surprised by the extent of his drunkenness as he doesn’t seem the type to use alcohol as a way to numb his pain in order to escape his problems. JinHo mumbles, “There are these kinds of days too…when I need to drink until I’m numb.” She tugs on his arm, “What kind of day that? By any chance…did you fight with SangJoon?”
He ignores that and thinks aloud: “I ran and ran myself into the ground…even when they cursed at me, I kept running to the death…but I’m still…that boy. Even when his father died, the little boy who couldn’t do anything. I was so outraged…I thought I was going crazy because I felt so wronged…still...I couldn’t even do anything other than keep hitting the wall.”
Tears slide down his cheeks.
“JinHo-sshi,” GaeIn implores softly, trying to reach out to him with her touch. He continues brokenly, “No matter how much I run…I’m still standing in that same place.”
“JinHo-sshi…are you crying?” She pulls his face towards her, his tear-stained cheeks in her hands. She wipes the drops with her fingertips. “JinHo-sshi, please don’t cry.” Wetness fills her own eyes. She can’t bear to see him this way. He looks at her, sees her tears, too. He feels her warmth, her caring of him. Alcohol is an impish troublemaker, it brings down walls, provokes instinct, uncovers what one may wish to keep hidden, even from oneself. It is a powerful combination, this new awareness between JinHo and GaeIn that had been stirred during the photo shoot on Sunday and alongside those new feelings, JinHo is also emotionally scraped raw, too much scratched to the surface by soju.
JinHo senses the shift in the air between them. He leans closer. She doesn’t move away. He moves into the small space separating them. Closing his eyes, gently, he presses his lips over hers. She closes her eyes, too.