Vanilla: Epilogue

It had been three months since Junmyeon and I started dating and it was his birthday. I was still at work and had three hours before my shift ended.

“Hey Lola, table 7 ordered the tropical sunrise for 5.” One of the waiters said to me and I nodded and walked quickly to the freezer to get the components I needed. I cut the already assembled dessert I had made earlier and placed each slice on a plate before drizzling the sauce around it. I did it carefully, belying the impatience in my head. I just wanted this day to be over already so I could go home and finish Junmyeon’s cake.

“Here you go George.” I said to the waiter and he left with all five plates, a feat I had never been able to understand.

After what felt like an eternity later, it was finally time to go home. I pulled over a cab because I didn’t feel like waiting for the train and got home in 30 minutes. I knocked on his door to make sure he wasn’t home yet. I hurried into my kitchen and grabbed his carrot cake out of the refrigerator and the icing I needed to finish the cake and some candles and let myself into his apartment with a key he had given me for emergency purposes. I finished icing the cake in record time, it was a pretty small cake, and drew a little bunny munching on a carrot on top of it before sticking the candles on top. I glanced at the oven’s clock, it was 7:30 and Junmyeon would return any moment from now. I lit the candles and turned off all the lights then proceeded to hide under the kitchen counter. Five minutes later, I heard a key turn in the lock and the door opened and closed. I heard him dragging his feet the way he did when he was tired and smiled to myself. He was slowly making his way to the kitchen. I heard him stop at the door.

“What is this?” he asked loudly.

“Happy birthday!” I yelled, jumping out from under the counter. Then I proceeded to sing the happy birthday song in Korean.

“How did you…?” he laughed.

“I learned from watching YouTube videos.” I replied explaining how I knew the Korean words to the happy birthday song. “Blow out your candles.” I said, picking up the cake. He blew out the candles and stuck his finger in the icing before rubbing it on my nose. “Hey!” I said, putting the cake down and he laughed.

“Thank you. I had a really bad day today.” He said pulling me into his arms. I felt as his chest moved up and down with an audible sigh.

I wrapped my arms around his waist and buried my face in his chest. He smelled like the sea-scented cologne I got him last month. “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked, my words muffled from my lips being pressed against his shirt. He sighed again and hugged me tighter.

“One of my clients insisted I fixed their plumbing all wrong and they want me to either do it again or give them a refund. I did it right, but someone or something clogged up their upstairs bathroom pipes and the can’t get any water from the sink. Fixing it again would require me cutting into the time I was supposed to spend rehearsing for our performance next weekend and giving them, a refund would set me back a bit this month.” He said.

“Is there a way you can prove the fault was from them?” I asked, pulling back to look at his face.

“The process would be more tasking than just fixing the problem. I’ll have to discuss with the team and see if we can reduce the amount of days we need to practice.”

“I’m sorry.” I said hugging him again.

“Why are you sorry?” he asked.

“I wish I could help you.” I replied and heard him laugh, then sigh.

“You listened, that’s plenty of help already.” He said.

I sighed and we stood like that for a few minutes before I stepped out of his arms. “Let’s eat this cake I spent all week making.”

We sat on the couch and ate cake while we watched the new episode of some crime show on netflix.

“Lola,” he started suddenly.

“Yes?” I answered, completely engrossed in what was going on.

“Lola, look at me.” He said, the quiet tone in his voice caused my face to turn toward his. “I want to kiss you so bad.”

“What’s stopping you?” I asked, my heart racing like a bullet train without any brakes.

“I’ll only do it if you want me to.” He inched closer to my face, stopping just short of my lips.

I raised my face to his and placed a soft kiss on his lips. “You have a piece of icing on your face.” I said, even as I cringed to the depths of my soul.

He smiled, and placing both hands on either side of my face, he kissed me. He started off slow then deepened the kiss. I felt my head spin and I wrapped my arms around his neck for support. He pulled me closer to the point that I was sitting in his lap. Our little dance continued, he tasted like carrot cake and cream cheese icing.  After what felt like forever later, we pulled apart and he placed one last kiss on my nose.

“I will be doing this more often.” He whispered.

“Whenever you want.” I replied.

As we watched our show, I realized that though we’d only been together for three months, I was already in love with him and I wanted to be with him for a long time. As though he sensed my thoughts, he placed a hand on my cheek and without words, I knew that he loved me too.

FIN.

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Vanilla, chapter two

At 5 pm the following day, I stepped into the building where the play was being held. It didn’t start until 6:30 but I was worried I would be late and I wanted to see Junmyeon before it started so I could wish him good luck. I found the stage and saw the actors rehearsing one last time. I approached the stage and saw Junmyeon in full costume, he looked like he belonged right there. He noticed me and leapt off the stage and came toward me. His hair was curly today.

“Hi.” He said gently, “You look nice.” He said, taking in my floral patterned, navy blue sundress, and my hair made into two puffs atop my head.

“Thanks.” I replied, rubbing the back of my neck to fight the blush. “I realized I never asked what you play was about.”

“It’s about a tailor who falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter. I’m playing the part of the tailor.” He said.

‘Sounds pretty cliché’ I thought to myself. “That’s great. I can’t wait to see your performance.” I replied to him.

“Do you want to meet the rest of the cast before we start?” he asked.

“Are you sure? I don’t want to intrude.” I replied.

“They won’t mind. Come with me.” He said. So, we made our way through the hallway and reached the dressing room. The rest of the cast were getting their make-up done when we entered. “Guys, this is Lola.” He said, introducing me to his castmates. There were about 15 of them in the room, I hope he didn’t expect me to remember all their names.

“Hi.” I waved at them. I was awkward around strangers, especially when there were so many of them.

“Hi. I’m Jess. This is Adam, Loren, Josiah, Rachel…” A girl in a white petticoat and ivory corset said. I blanked out as she recited all their names, there was no way I was remembering all of them. I felt terrible.

“It’s really nice to meet all of you and I hope your performance is a success.” I said genuinely.

“Do you want to hang around backstage while I do my make-up?” Junmyeon asked.

“No no. I’ll just go to my seat and wait. I don’t want to be in the way.” I replied.

“I don’t think it’s a problem though.” He said.

“No, I really don’t want to stay here by myself, Junmyeon.” I said.

“Oh. Well, I’ll escort you to your seat then.” He said.

“That’s fine. Get your make-up done and I’ll see you after your performance.” I smiled.

“If that’s what you want then I won’t push. I’ll see you later.” He said gently.

“Break a leg.” I said and he smiled before he walked off. If he kept smiling at me all day, I would be in love with him before the night was over.

I found my seat and waited for the hall to fill up. When the performance was about to start, I looked around to see if more people came, they didn’t. The audience comprised of at most a hundred people, I sighed and turned back to the stage, my heart hurt a little. The play itself wasn’t very well-written but the actors gave their all, especially Junmyeon. He looked so at ease as he danced gracefully across the stage and sang his lines. I guess it was true when they said there was something magical about seeing a man in his workplace. The play ended and I flew to my feet and clapped louder than anyone else in that hall.

“Did you enjoy the show?” he asked when he met me at the door after he changed back into his regular clothes.

“You were amazing.” I replied truthfully.

“I’m glad. Now, we can go get that tea.” He said.

“I’m kind of hungry now.” I said as we walked through the streets.

“What do you feel like eating?” He asked,

“I love cheeseburgers and I kind of want one right now. We can go for tea after.” I replied. After we ate and were seated in the tea shop, I spoke. “Since when have you been a musical actor?”

“About 3 years. My parents weren’t very supportive of the idea at first,” he laughed, “Their faces when I told them seemed like I told them I wanted to come to New York and live on the streets.”

“My parents were the same when I told them I wanted to be a pastry chef. My father said it wasn’t a viable career option. Parents are weird like that.” I shrugged.

“My parents are as supportive as they can be now, they call me from time to time to make sure I’m not actually living on the streets.” He rested his face in his chin and stared at me.

“What are you looking at?” I asked as I sipped my tea.

“You’re cute.” He replied simply.

I had never been called ‘cute’ before and I felt a blush climb up the back of my neck. The truth was, I really loved being called ‘cute’ because it wasn’t very often an adult was called cute. I’d been called ‘beautiful’ often but never cute. My heart raced.

“Cute? I’m a grown woman.” I said, trying to hide a smile.

“So? Adults can be cute too. I think you’re very adorable.” He said again.

“Cute, not beautiful?” I asked again.

“You’re beautiful too, but you’re cute more than anything else. Do you not like being called?” he asked leaning back in his chair.

I was so close to leaning across the table and just grabbing him by the collar and kissing him.

“I love being called cute actually.” I replied and he smiled again. That’s it, I was positive I was in love with him at this point.

“Actually, I wanted to talk to you the moment I saw you attempt to push my armchair out of your way but I didn’t know what to say since you seemed like you were in a bad mood.” He said.

“Well I was in a bad mood that day. Wait, what about the food?” I asked,

“Ah that. I didn’t want to seem pushy so I decided to make some for the whole building as well. It was silly now that I think about it.” He said hanging his head slightly.

I felt a giggle build up in my chest and before I knew it, I was laughing so hard. He was ridiculous, I couldn’t believe he did all that when he could have just knocked on my door and said something.

“You’re something else.” I said in between fits of laughter.

“I didn’t realize the situation would cause you to laugh this hard.” He said, his lips twitching.

“Do you want to be my boyfriend?” I asked suddenly, then felt foolish just as quickly.

He stared at me for what seemed like an eternity and the silence grew heavy between us. I was ready to climb into the next hole and die.

“Yes, I would love to.” He replied finally and smiled yet again.

Vanilla

This is most likely going to be a one-shot. I really suck at writing long, complex plots in general. We’ll see how this goes.

I pulled my tired body up the stairs of my Brooklyn apartment along with the heavy bags of groceries in both my hands. If anyone had seen me, they would have thought I was trying to feed a family of four. The truth was, I lived alone in my dingy one room apartment on the third floor of a somewhat okay neighbourhood in Brooklyn. I approached the elevator, hoping to have a chance to set my bags down for a moment of reprieve. I gasped angrily as I saw the “out of order” sigh taped to the closed doors. I eyed the stairs and contemplated just setting my groceries down and taking a seat for a moment. I was bone tired after working a 14 hour shift at the restaurant especially toward the end of the night when a party of six arrived, each customer with a different kind of allergy. I sympathized with people, I really did, but tonight I was just too exhausted, mentally and physically. Chef had screamed at me in his thick French accent to find a way to make concessions with the ingredients we already had. I decided against sitting on the stairs, I might fall asleep there and my milk and eggs would suffer, so I lugged my body up a flight of stairs to my apartment on the third floor. I approached the sanctuary that was my door only to find another obstacle in front of me. Someone was moving in next door and all their furniture was out in the hallway.

“Why is the universe doing this to me today? I’m just trying to get home and go to sleep.” I said, fighting back tired tears. I tried to push by one of the armchairs. “What the fuck do you need an armchair for in this tiny apartment?” I said to myself as I struggled to make enough room so I could get through.

“Excuse me. Was I in your way?” a voice said from behind me. I turned to look at the person. It was a man, tall but not by much. Perhaps around 5 feet 8 inches. He had a pleasant face but he wasn’t smiling, his dark brown hair hung down to his eyes.

“Yes. I’m trying to get to my apartment and your stuff is in my way.” I replied, trying not to sound as pissed off as I was. It wasn’t his fault I was having a shitty day.

“I’m sorry, I’ll just move this. Well, have a good night.” He said after moving his chair away and without a goodnight, I stabbed my keys into the lock, opened the door, and went in. Once inside, I put the milk and eggs in the refrigerator since they were perishable and left the rest of the groceries on the table, I dragged myself to my room and flopped on the bed without taking my clothes off and before I knew it, I was out like a light.

I heard someone drilling and my eyes flew open, I glanced at the clock next to my bed, it was 8 am. The drilling noises almost felt like they were coming from my head.

“Fucking 3B.” I said as I pulled my pillow over my face. Who drills at 8 in the morning, did he not sleep all through the night? I decided that I might as well get up since there was no way I was going back to sleep with that incessant drilling. After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I put the rest of my groceries away and went about making breakfast. It was Monday and the restaurant didn’t open until 5 pm for the dinner rush, so I had a lot of time on my hands. I pushed the play button on my phone and the audiobook I was listening to started from where it left off. I didn’t even remember what the story was about since it felt like ages ago since I started listening to it. I cracked some eggs into a bowl, I was craving omelets suddenly and I dug around in my refrigerator for some cheese. As soon as I poured the egg mixture into the pan, the drilling stopped and I breathed a sigh of relief at the silence until a minute later, I heard a knock on the door.

“Yes!” I called out setting my empty bowl aside and turning off the heat. I pulled open the door and 3B was standing in front of it.

“Good morning.” He said. He glanced at my outfit interestingly before his gaze returned to my face. I looked down and realized I was still wearing the grey shirt that doubled as the inner shirt of my chef’s coat and my work pants, one of the legs had ridden up while I slept. I pulled myself up straighter and tilted my head at him.

“May I help you?” I asked.

“I believe this is yours.” He said. He spoke so properly, almost as if he didn’t know any slang. He also had a slight accent. I looked at his hand and saw my powder blue purse. “You probably dropped it outside while trying to get home last night. I apologize, perhaps it happened because of all my things being in your way.”

“Thank you, I must have.” I said and took my purse from him.

“I also apologize for the drilling so early in the morning, I was so tired from moving in last night, I fell asleep on my mattress and did not have a chance to put the bed frame together. I figured I would do it before I headed out to work today.” He smiled. His smile made his already pleasant face even more handsome. His cheekbones lifted and the effect caused his nostrils to flare.

“I-it’s okay. Thank you for returning my purse.” I said. I felt the back of my neck starting to get hot and I realized I must have been blushing. Thank goodness for my dark skin or I would have been found out. I started to go back into my apartment when he stopped me.

“I’m a handyman, so if you ever need some work done around the apartment just let me know.” He said and handed me his card. I looked down at it, and I was filled with anger suddenly. I grabbed it out of his hand and beat a hasty retreat into my home. Inside, I looked at the card in my hand, “James Kim” it read with his number and email address printed in a smaller font underneath his name. I tossed the card on the coffee table and went back to making my omelet, little did I know that James Kim’s smile would replay in my head all day long.

I skipped home that night after my shift, I had the next day off and I planned on sleeping for most of the day and then spend the rest doing some overdue cleaning around the house. I entered the building and went towards the elevator, the pesky “out of order” sign was gone and I pushed the button. I entered the elevator and just as it was about to close, a voice called out.

“Would you hold the elevator, please?” James appeared as I pushed the button and he smiled again. “Good evening.” He said. He had such a good-looking smile. He was carrying a bag with leeks peeking out of the top.

“Hi.” I answered back.

“How was your day?” He asked, and I wondered who he was talking to.

“Me?” I said, after realizing that he wasn’t crazy and was only trying to start a conversation.

“Yes. It is just the two of us in this elevator.” He answered, the corner of his mouth curving into an amused smile.

Stop fucking smiling, I thought. “Ah, it was okay. It wasn’t too busy at the restaurant today.” I replied.

“Oh, what do you do at the restaurant?” he asked again.

“Ah, I’m an assistant pastry chef at a French restaurant downtown.” I replied.

“Oh a pastry chef. I love cake.” He said, smiling again.

Geez, if he didn’t stop fucking smiling, I swear! “I bet you do. That’s the reaction I get when tell people what I do.” I replied. My eyes travelled down to his grocery bag with the leek peeking out, for some reason, and I looked at his hand. His hands looked like they worked hard, it was obvious. I was so distracted by his hand that the sudden ding of the elevator arriving at our floor sounded like a shrill alarm going off in my brain.

“We’re here.” He said and we walked to our doors. “It’d be an honour for me to try something you make once. I really like carrot cake.” He said and nodded before entering his apartment. I stood there and stared at his closed door.

“Was he flirting with me?” I wondered aloud. I put my finger to my face and massaged the bridge of my nose, this was too much to deal with. I was probably misreading the signs and being all weird by myself. I went into my apartment and dropped my clothes on the floor as I went. By the time I was in the kitchen, I was standing in my underwear. I rummaged through the refrigerator for a snack since I already ate dinner at the restaurant, and found an unfinished slice of banana cream pie which I proceeded to devour in front of the television while I watched the evening news. The story of a potential re-unification between the Koreas was being reported. I finished my pie and tossed the empty pie dish in the trash before heading for bed.

The following morning, I woke up at 8 am and couldn’t go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried, so I decided to start cleaning. I picked my clothes off the floor and put them in a hamper before carrying the whole thing down to the laundry room. Afterwards, I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom and was exhausted by 6 pm. I decided that rather than make something for dinner, I would order in so I scrolled through Yelp, trying to decide if I wanted pizza or Chinese. Just then, there was a knock on the door.

“Coming.” I answered and opened the door, it was James again.

“Hi.” He said, holding a covered plate and wearing that fucking smile again. I was ready to throw something at him.

“Is that food?” I asked. How did he know I was hungry?

“Yes. This is Yachaejeon or vegetable pancakes. It’s a South Korean dish. I made them myself and I thought you might like some.” He said offering me the dish.

“You’re Korean?” I asked.

“My last name is Kim.” He said as if it was obvious. “It was on the card I gave you.”

“But your first name is James.” I said. It was possibly the stupidest thing I said all day, my brain probably facepalmed.

“I have a different Korean name but I thought Americans might have a hard time with it so I changed it to James instead.”

“What’s your Korean name, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Junmyeon, my Korean name is Junmyeon.”

“Junmyeon.” I said, sounding the name out, it didn’t seem that hard to say.

“Yes. What about you?” He asked.

“What about me?” I said.

“Your name?”

“Oh. Uh, you can just call me Lola. I have a different name but it was hard for people to say so I changed it to Lola.” I answered back.

“Lola.” He said, contemplating the name. His voice sent shivers up my spine. ‘Bitch, what the fuck is wrong with you?’ I thought to myself. “So, would you like this?” he asked, his voice snapping me back to reality.

“Oh yes, thank you very much. I can’t wait to try it.” I said taking the plate from him.

“I love to cook. If you like it, please let me know and I will make you something else. Do you like spicy food?”

“Yes, I love spicy food.” I answered back.

“Alright. Enjoy and have a good night.” He said and went into his apartment. I stood there in the doorway holding this dish and feeling like a fool. I needed to know if he was being nice or if he was flirting. The next morning, there was a note on my door, it read “please throw empty dish away, it’s disposable” and it was signed James. I decided I would rather call him Junmyeon.

Later that night as I took my garbage out to the big bin outside the building, I ran into Mrs Cooke, another tenant in the building.

“Hey Lola.” She said pleasantly. She was a nice, older lady who had lived in the building possibly longer than anybody else.

“Hey Mrs. Cooke. Did you like the lemon poppy muffins I gave you last time?” I asked as she accompanied me back into building.

“Oh yes, they were very good thank you. By the way, have you met the new tenant yet? His name is James and he’s such a nice and good-looking young man.” She said with an almost dreamy look on her face. I giggled silently, Mrs. Cooke liked to gossip as much as she was nice.

“Yes, he brought some traditional Korean food by my apartment yesterday.” I answered back as we got into the elevator and she pushed the number 2 button.

“Oh, that was really delicious. He gave it to everyone in the building, he said he was just being a good neighbor. He’s so sweet, who does that anymore?” She smiled. “Oh, here’s my floor. Have a goodnight dear.” She waved and left.

The elevator doors closed and I sighed. “So, he was just being nice. That’s great I guess.” I felt a sense of disappointment that I couldn’t explain and I dragged myself to bed. For the rest of the week, I didn’t run into Junmyeon nor did I hear him going into or leaving his apartment, it was almost like he disappeared. On Saturday, after another tiring day at the restaurant I walked up to the building and saw step out of an old beat-up car. It was a man, he was wearing a pair of breeches, the kind you see in old English movies and a pair of boots, but his top was a sleeveless black shirt and his was holding what looked like the original top to his outfit in his hand.

“Thanks guys, I’ll see you tomorrow evening.” He said to his companions before waving the car away.

“Junmyeon?” I said when he turned around.

“Hey. How are you?” He said, producing that smile again.

“I’ve been doing well. It’s been quiet.” I said and he chuckled.

“You won’t let that drilling incident go, will you?” He asked as we entered the elevator.

“I’m petty.” I shrugged in response. “What are you wearing?” I asked, unable to keep my curiosity inside much longer.

“Oh this. I’m actually a musical actor, the handyman thing is just something I do to get by.” He replied, showing me his shirt. “I just got back from rehearsals, we’re putting on our show tomorrow.”

“Oh, I love musicals. Have you been in anything famous?” I asked.

“Not yet. Mostly a bunch of off-broadway productions. I usually have to spend some time with the team when we have performances coming just to make sure we have everything perfect.” He replied.

“Ah, so that’s why you’ve been gone all week.” I said.

“You noticed?” He turned toward me and had a look of genuine surprise.

“I mean, it’s not that hard since your house is right next to mine.” I said, my brain probably facepalmed again. ‘I’m such an idiot’ I thought to myself.

“I see.” He said and turned away from me, but not before I saw a small smile turn up the corner of his mouth. We both stepped out of the elevator and approached our respective doors. He stopped just before he entered his apartment. “You know, we have all of our conversations in the elevator. I think that’s really amusing. Wouldn’t it be nicer if we chatted over tea?”

“I beg your pardon?” I answered.

“Do you like tea? I would love for you to drink some with me.” He answered.

“I’m sorry, I’m obtuse when I’m tired, but you mean like a date?” I asked. I had to make sure I wasn’t getting ahead of myself again. He could probably mean tea with all the residents again.

“I believe that’s what a man does when he’s interested in a woman. Do you not like tea?” He raised his eyebrows at me.

“I-uh, I love tea. I’m off tomorrow.” I said.

“Do you want to come to my performance tomorrow? We could have tea afterwards. I know a really good place.” He said.

My head was spinning, ‘what the fuck is going on?’ I screamed in my mind.

“I would love to.” I answered.

He smiled and pulled a ticket out of his pocket and pressed it into my palm. “I was hoping you’d say yes.”

“You got a ticket without even asking me first?”

“I figured it was worth a shot. I apologize if it was out of line.” He said.

“It’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow.” I smiled and he nodded and went into his apartment and I went into mine. “FUCK!” I screamed when I was finally behind closed doors.

Author’s note: *high-pitched screaming* What am I doing?

Hae-Kyung’s Love Chapter 2

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Hae-kyung walked into her apartment and dropped her purse on the floor as soon as she walked in. She was tired but it wasn’t late enough for her to go to bed. She decided to take a bath and ran the tap while she took off her clothes. When the tub was full, she climbed into it and closed her eyes. The water was warm and she felt the fatigue wash off her slowly. The room was quiet except for the drip drip dripping of the tap.

“I’m getting married.” Hye-soo’s voice said in her head and she sighed.

“You are jealous.” She sighed again and sunk her head under the water.

“Why are you so frigid?”

“You’re such a tease. What’s wrong with you?”

“I thought you said you loved me. Don’t be like that.”

All the voices swirled around in her head as she held her breath under the water.

Her eyes flew open as the smell of his body filled her nostrils, the face attacked her and she saw that sick smile. It felt like the clammy hands were reaching around her neck, “Appa, appa! Save me! It hurts so much, please save me!!”

She pushed herself out and began to cough violently. The voice echoing in her head, “Appa chebal, guhae juseyo!!!” Tears filled her eyes and she dropped her head to her knees. She tried not to cry but the tears spilled out and she sobbed silently.

Hwan-gun finished up at work that day and was preparing to leave. He had so much to do and he still needed to hire a secretary. He picked up his suit and was about to walk out of the office when his cellphone rang.

“Eo.” He answered as he pushed the elevator button.

“I’m headed to your house, what do you want for dinner?” Ah-reum asked.

“Whatever’s good. I’m just stepping out of the building now so I may be a little late.”

“Alright, I’ll see you later then.” She said and hung up.

He started the car and drove out of the parking lot. As he drove, he thought about Hae-kyung and wondered if she was okay. She looked like she had been trying to hold back tears when they were at lunch.

“Why am I thinking about that?” He sighed to himself. He couldn’t help himself though, so even as he pulled into the driveway next to Ah-reum’s car, Hae-kyung’s bowed head was the image on his mind.

“Wasseo?” Ah-reum said and smiled at him as he entered.

“You didn’t have to do this.” He said and smiled in return.

“Eyy, you just got came from America yesterday and went straight to work today. Aren’t you tired?” She asked watching him with arms akimbo.

“Now that you mentioned it, I am a little tired.” He said, setting aside his bag and jacket. “What did you make?”

“Just some soup, you know I’m not a very good cook.” She said as they sat down to dinner.

Hwan-gun smiled. “How’s your father?” He asked.

“He’s fine. He wants to know when the wedding is.” She said, lifting a spoonful of soup to her mouth.

“When do you want it to be?” He asked.

She shrugged. “It doesn’t really matter.”

He looked up at her from his plate, “It doesn’t matter?”

“Not really, you’re the one who asked me to marry you after all.” She said swallowing another spoonful.

“Why did you agree if you weren’t interested?” Hwan-gun asked.

“If it wasn’t you, my father would have chosen someone else and I really don’t want to be married to someone I don’t know very well.”

He placed his chin in his hand and stared at her. “Are you hearing yourself right now?”

“Gunah, we’ve been friends for over fifteen years and we promised to get married to each other if we’re still single when we turn thirty so our parents don’t force us to marry strangers. I’m just keeping up my end of the promise, did something change?”

Hae-kyung’s question from earlier popped into his head, “You don’t love each other?” “Do you love me?” He asked suddenly making her burst into laughter.

“Oh, you’re serious. Gunah, you’re my best friend and I do love you but not like that. I’d rather be married to my friend than a complete stranger. That kind of love can always develop later.”

“What if it doesn’t?” He asked. He wasn’t sure why he was feeling apprehensive suddenly. He was the one who suggested they get married if they were still single at thirty and he was the one who proposed to her, all Ah-reum did was go along with it. So what was wrong with him? “You don’t love each other?” The question kept playing in his head, it had almost sounded like she felt sorry for him.

“Gunah, I guess the jetlag is finally getting to you. I’ll leave you alone to rest, don’t even think of going to work tomorrow.” She said and cleared her dishes away from the table before she left his apartment.

Ah-reum closed the door behind her and wondered what happened with Hwan-gun suddenly. She was just starting to leave when the door of the apartment opposite Hwan-gun’s flung open and a man walked out followed by the shouts of a crying woman.

“You stinking, rotten bastard! How dare you leave me?!” The woman screamed from inside and the man just sighed.

“This is why women are troublesome.” He said before catching Ah-reum looking at him. “May I help you?” He asked, raising an eyebrow.

Ah-reum adjusted the strap of her bag and continued on her way to the elevator. The woman flew out of the apartment as they reached the elevator and grabbed the man by his arm, tears streaming down her face. “Oppa, please I’m sorry. I’ll be better.”

The man gently removed her hand from his arm and said, “It’s not you, it’s me. I’m afraid you’re too good for me. You deserve better, you really do. I’m sorry it can’t be me.”

Ah-reum was trying to contain the urge to roll her eyes, ‘he sounds like a player’, she thought to herself. The elevator arrived and she got on. The doors were about to close when the man from before got on and let out a long-suffering sigh. He ran his hand through his hair before pulling out his phone and dialing a number.

“Where are you? I’m in the mood for a drink.”

The elevator came to a stop on the ground floor and they got off. The man waited outside for a ride, and Ah-reum got into her car and drove home.

Ki-joon got into his friend’s car when it pulled up next to him.

“What’s the matter with you?” Joon asked when Ki-joon fastened his seatbelt.

“I broke up with Ma-ri.”

“What? I thought you were going to marry her.”

“I was, but that was before I realized how unmatched we are. It’s my fault, I can’t deal with such a strong personality in a woman.” He replied and looked out the window as his friend drove. Suddenly his phone buzzed. “Yeobseyo?”

“What are you doing?” Hae-kyung asked.

“Going to have a drink with Joon.” He replied.

“Wanna have a drink with me instead?” She asked.

“Are you okay?” He’d known her all his life and he could sense when something was wrong with her just from her voice.

“I just want to see you.” She replied.

“Okay, I’ll drop by your house. You’re at home, right?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Okay, I’ll see you soon.” He hung up and turned to his friend, “I’m sorry for calling you out and ditching you. I have to go see Hae-kyung.”

Joon waved his friend’s worry away, “It’s fine, I know how important she is to you. I’ll see you at work tomorrow.” He pulled over to the side of the road and watched Ki-joon hail a taxi and get in before driving away.

Hae-kyung grabbed a wine out of the fridge and some glasses when her doorbell rang. She opened it and Ki-joon wrapped her in a hug.

“I’m here.” He said quietly and all the tears she had been fighting burst free. They stood at the doorway like that for a while as Hae-kyung cried every last tear in her heart. When she was done, they sat on the floor in the living room and drank their wine.

“Why did you cry?” Ki-joon finally asked.

Hae-kyung ran a hand through her hair, sighed deeply and said “Hye-soo’s getting married.”

Ki-joon held her shoulders and looked at her, “It’s going to be alright.”

Hae-kyung felt her eyes well up with tears again. “I want to get married too, I want to be with someone too. But why? Why is it so hard?”

Ki-joon rubbed his hand up and down her shoulders. “It’s going to be alright, it’s not your fault.”

Hae-kyung wiped her tears. “I’m being selfish. I called you all this way and didn’t even ask what was wrong with you. I only unloaded my problems on you.”

Ki-joon dropped his hands and gazed into the red liquid in his glass. He picked the glass up, swirled it around a bit and said “I broke up with Ma-ri.” Before taking a long gulp.

“What, I thought you loved her? Why?!”

Ki-joon rolled back the sleeve of the shirt he was wearing and revealed healing wounds on his arm that looked like a knife had cut him. “This is why. This is the final straw that broke the camel’s back. I couldn’t take it anymore.”

“She did this to you?” Hae-kyung asked, anger slowly rising in her head. “How dare she?!”

“It’s always something with her. She’s overly-suspicious and every time we have an argument, she hits me and throws things at me. A few days ago, I went over to visit her and while I was in the bathroom she went through my phone. She saw some messages from you and she thought I was cheating on her. I tried to explain that it was just you but she didn’t believe me, she threw a vase at me and before I knew it she came at me with a knife threatening to kill me for two-timing. I had to raise my arm to defend myself or she would have sliced my face open.” Ki-joon explained.

Anger burned in her heart as she listened to him, “I’m going to kill her.”

“It’s fine. I just never want to have anything to do with her again.”

“You’re not even going to report her to the police?” Hae-kyung asked incredulously.

“Noona please, just let it go.” He replied quietly.

Hae-kyung looked at him for a while before wrapping him in a hug. He rarely ever called her ‘noona’ and when he did, it usually meant he was hurting deeply. “It’s going to be alright, it’s not your fault.” She echoed his words back to him.

Ki-joon rarely received comfort from his elder sister, they’ve both been through a lot but he had always tried to always be the one comforting her. He felt his heart grow light as she embraced him and tears welled up in his eyes. He couldn’t put into words how much he had loved Ma-ri and the fact that even when she abused him and treated him badly, he still wanted to be with her made him feel worse. He sighed as tears rolled down his cheeks and Hae-kyung hugged him tighter, willing that her baby brother’s pain would go away.

Hae-Kyung’s Love Chapter 1

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CAST OF CHARACTERS:

Kim So-eun as Lee Hae-kyung

Lee Soo-hyuk as Seo Hwan-gun

Uee as Hong Ah-reum

Sung Joon as Han Ki-joon

Hae-kyung sat at her desk at work and stared out the window, the falling rain and dark skies mirrored her mood. She was not feeling very well that day but she couldn’t miss going to work because she had an important ad campaign she needed to finish. She sighed and rubbed her temples, trying to massage away the headache. Her intercom buzzed.

“Yes Secretary Jung.” She said.

“The CEO wants to see you in his office.” Secretary Jung replied.

“Alright, I’ll be there in a few minutes.” She slipped on her pumps, straightened her skirt and went out of her office. The CEO never called her separately unless he had a favour to ask her. She got to the door of his office and told his secretary to let him know she was there.

“Hwaejangnim, department head Lee Hae-kyung is here.” The secretary said and Hae-kyung heard him tell her to let her in. “Please go in.” She said.

Hae-kyung entered the office of the CEO of the ad agency she worked for. He was sitting in his chair, finishing a call. He beckoned her to take a seat on the couch while he finished his call.

“Arasso, I’ll take care of it don’t you worry. Alright, drive safely.” He said and finished his call. “Hae-kyungah, what would you like to drink? Coffee? Tea?”

“I’m fine.” She replied.

“Right. The reason I called you is because I need a favour.” He said with a smile.

Hae-kyung smiled back, “Who is it this time?” The CEO was a very friendly man, he looked really formidable on the outside but he had a really soft heart. He was loved and respected by all his employees as a compassionate boss and he was revered by his clients as an upright and responsible businessman.

“My friend’s son has just returned from America and is coming to head one of the new branches of his father’s hotels opening up in Seoul. He just called me and asked me to help him with a promotion campaign that will garner some attention for the hotel. I told him that I’ll send him the best person I have for the job and that’s you.”

Hae-kyung liked the CEO, he was fond of her, praised her when she did a good job and let her know whenever he wasn’t satisfied with anything. He was kind to everyone, but even the other employees knew that he loved her just a little more than an employee. He treated her like a daughter and asked her advice on many issues. “How soon do you want me to meet him?” She asked.

“Do you have time today?”

She thought about her headache and having to drive in the rain, but she couldn’t turn down a favour when he asked so nicely. “I only have to finish fine-tuning the campaign for Taesung cars and send it down to their office.”

“You can pass that onto someone else, this is a little more pressing. The hotel is having its grand opening in a few weeks, there is not much time left.”

“Okay, I’ll do my best. I can leave right away if you want me to.” She said, standing up.

“Here’s the address, I wrote it down before you came in.” He handed her a piece of paper.

She narrowed her eyes at him and he smiled sheepishly. “You knew I wouldn’t refuse, didn’t you?”

“Drive safely.” He said and she bowed and left his office. She stopped by her office briefly to get her bag and jacket and to mail the project she was working on to another one of her colleagues before she left the office.

By the time she turned into the intersection leading to the address, the rain had stopped falling and the sun shone brightly. She wound down her window to let the after-smell of the rain in. She did love the smell of rain even if she didn’t like the rain itself. She just pulled up at a red light when suddenly, a car hit her from behind. She grabbed the back of her neck and gasped.

“What the hell?” She said, getting down from her car to examine the damage.

“I’m so sorry.” A voice said from behind her. She turned around and saw a tall man in a pinstriped suit standing behind her.

“What the hell?!” She felt her anger rising and the headache that she thought was going away came back with a vengeance. She glanced at her watch and it was almost 12:30, she only had less than 10 minutes to get to her meeting. She didn’t have time to get into an argument with this man.

“I said I was sorry. I…”

“Listen, I don’t have time to do this with you right now, I have an important meeting to get to. Just give me your number and I’ll call you as soon as my meeting is over.” She held out her hand waiting impatiently for him to hand his phone over.

He held out his phone and started to say something when she snatched it out of his hand and keyed in her number and saved it as ‘woman whom I owe’. She dialed her number from his phone and saved his number in her phone as ‘jerk who hit my car’.

“Isn’t that a bit unfair? I haven’t done anything to be called a jerk.” He narrowed his eyes peeking at the name she used.

“I’m in a bad mood and I’m taking it out on you. Wae?” She turned around and marched angrily back to her car. She started the engine and drove away muttering to herself about how she wished she could have yelled at him. “I wonder what he was doing that he hadn’t been focusing. I’m going to go to this meeting with a headache now because of that jerk. Aish!!” She exclaimed and held her head with one hand. She was going to have to take the rest of the day off with the way she was feeling. She pulled into the parking lot of the office building with only two minutes to spare and she hurried up the stairs to the elevator. She prided herself on her punctuality, she always arrived at least 5 minutes early for her meetings. She glanced at her watch, 56 seconds remaining. “Aish, because of that jerk.” She rapidly pushed the button and soon enough, the elevator came down. She got on it and hit the 5th floor button. She arranged her hair and appearance in the elevator. She wanted to make a good impression, not only for the sake of her pride and track record but also for the sake of her boss who trusted her and chose her specially.

She arrived at the door that had the nameplate CEO Seo Hwan-gun on it. There was no secretary, so she proceeded to knock the door. A voice called from inside and told her to come in, so she did.

“I’ll be with you in a moment.” He called from behind a closed door which she assumed was the restroom. She took a seat opposite his desk and pulled out her phone to do a quick research on him. Since she had to leave immediately her boss told her, she hadn’t had a chance to look him up. She entered his name into the search engine and the picture that came up shocked her. It was the jerk who hit her car.

“Damnit.” She said quietly. “Damnit! Damnit!! Damnit!!!” There goes her good impression. Just then, he walked out from behind the closed door, his suit jacket absent, and both sleeves rolled up to his forearm. She stood up to greet him. “Annyeonghaseyo, Lee Hae-kyungibnida.” ‘What in the world?! How did he even arrive before me? Please don’t be petty, please don’t be petty.’ She thought to herself.

Hwan-gun stared at the woman standing in front of him and felt a smile begin to tug at the corner of his mouth. “How may I help you Lee Hae-kyungssi?” He asked walking to his chair and taking a seat. He indicated that she take a seat and she did.

“I’m from Focus ad agency, CEO Choi sent me.” She said, trying to sound confident.

“Are you still in a bad mood?” He asked suddenly.

“Neh?”

“Before, you said you were in a bad mood.”

“Ah that. I’m sorry I was mean to you earlier, I am not feeling well today. I was having a headache. you see and the accident kind of made it worse.” She explained.

“I’m really sorry about hitting you earlier. I was a little out of it because I wasn’t concentrating on the road.” He said.

“Neh mwo, it can happen to anybody that’s why they’re called accidents.”

“Alright, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up. Now, shall we get down to business?”

Hae-kyung spent the next twenty minutes outlining all the different strategies he could employ in getting exposure for his hotel’s opening. As she talked, she rubbed her temples slightly with one hand, the headache was getting worse and she felt like she might throw up. She paused to take a deep breath in the middle of explaining one of the design concepts to him.

“Are you feeling okay? Is your headache very bad?” Hwan-gun asked carefully.

“I’ll be fine. As soon as I’m done here, I’ll be able to take some medicine and get some rest.” She replied.

He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of painkillers. “I always keep this on hand because after having meetings all day I get headaches too.” He pushed the bottle towards her.

“I’m really okay.” Hae-kyung replied. She felt embarrassed for taking her bad mood out on him before since he seemed like such a nice guy.

“You can’t continue working if you’re not feeling well. We can always reschedule the meeting.”

“No. The hotel’s grand opening is in a few weeks we don’t have much time left.” She replied. He nudged the bottle closer to her with a finger and she sighed and opened it up. She took out two pills and popped it into her mouth. “As I was saying…” She said and continued to explain while Hwan-gun listened attentively. After she was done, Hwan-gun told her that he was pleased with all that he had heard and decided to go along with making an ad campaign that would showcase the hotel in a welcoming light.

“Would you like to go to lunch with me?” He asked.

“Excuse me?” She wasn’t quite sure where this was going.

“Lunch. It’s time.” He replied as if it was the most natural thing in the world for them to eat lunch together.

“Erm, I brought my car and I need to get back to the office.” She said. ‘This guy’s a little strange.’ She thought to herself.

“I thought you were going to get some rest, aren’t you planning on taking the rest of the day off?” He asked.

“I haven’t informed my boss yet.” She said and pulled out her cellphone. She dialed CEO Choi’s number and he answered on the second ring.

“Eo. How did it go?”

“Fine. Is it okay if I take the rest of the day off? I’m not feeling very well today.” She said.

“Are you all done with your work?”

“Neh.”

“Alright, take care of yourself and get some rest.”

“Kamsahabnida.” She said and hung up. “What am I going to do about my car though?” She asked Hwan-gun after hanging up.

“I could always bring you back to pick it up.” He shrugged.

Hae-kyung narrowed her eyes at him, “It’s just lunch, right?”

“Have you been duped all your life?’ He asked with a smile. “It’s to celebrate us working together.”

“Alright, let’s go.” She said and they walked out of the office. As soon as they got into the car, Hae-kyung’s cellphone began to ring. “Eo Hye-sooya.” She said when she answered, it was her lifelong friend Jung Hye-soo.

“Ya, guess what.” Hye-soo said excitedly.

“What? You know how much I hate guessing games.” Hae-kyung replied while Hwan-gun drove.

“I’m getting married.” Hye-soo said and squealed.

Hae-kyung was so shocked she almost choked on her tongue. “What?!”

“I’m getting married. Jin-youngie proposed.” Hye-soo said.

“I don’t believe this, married?” Hae-kyung felt her chest tighten and she clenched her left hand so tight her nails dug into her palm.

“You don’t sound happy. Why don’t you sound happy?” Hye-soo asked, finally realizing through her happy haze that something was wrong with her friend.

“Of course I’m happy. You guys have been together for so long. When is the wedding?” Hae-kyung asked, swallowing the lump in her throat and trying to sound cheerful for her friend.

“In three weeks.” Hye-soo replied.

“Are you pregnant, why are you getting married so soon?”

“Why wait when he and I have already been together for four years? You’ll come, won’t you?”

Hae-kyung forced a smile though her friend couldn’t see it. “Of course, do you have anyone but me? Are you having it in Seoul or down in Ulsan?”

“Of course we’re having it here in Ulsan, all my family is down here.” Hye-soo replied.

“Alright. Is there anything you need me to help you with?”

“Ani. I’m leaving everything to a professional wedding planner, all you need to do is show up. Preferably with a date.” Hye-soo said and Hae-kyung snorted. She could practically see her friend’s eyes twinkling.

“Ya, dwaekeodeon.”

“If you don’t have one, I’ll be forced to set you up with someone from Jin-youngie’s family and trust me he’s the best of the lot.” Hye-soo said, releasing a long-suffering sigh.

“I’ll handle that by myself thank you very much.” Hae-kyung replied rolling her eyes.

“Arasso Arasso. I’ll talk to you later.” Hye-soo said and hung up.

Hae-kyung dropped her phone in her bag and wiped her hand across her brow, she was starting to sweat though the AC was on in the car.

Hwan-gun who had been stealing glances at her while she talked to her friend, finally spoke up.

“Are you okay? You look a little sick. Is the headache back?”

“I’m fine. My friend just dropped a bomb on me that’s all.” Hae-kyung replied and looked out the window.

“Is she okay?’ Hwan-gun asked.

“Oh, she’s fine. She’s getting married.” Hae-kyung said trying to keep the bitterness out of her voice.

“That’s good news.” He smiled.

“Yeah sure.” She murmured.

“Are you jealous?” He asked incredulously.

“Jealous! Me! Ridiculousness!” Hae-kyung sputtered. What the hell was he insinuating?

Hwan-gun laughed. “You are jealous. Do you have a boyfriend?”

“What has that got to do with anything?”

“Well if you have a boyfriend, especially one you love dearly, you wouldn’t want to wait to start a life with him.”

“You speak like such an expert. I’m assuming you have a girlfriend?” Hae-kyung said raising an eyebrow at him.

“I don’t have a girlfriend.” He said.

“See, you can’t be an expert.”

“I have a fiancée.” He laughed.

Hae-kyung’s jaw dropped. “You must love her a lot to want to get married.”

“We like each other well enough.” Hwan-gun shrugged as he turned into the restaurant parking lot.

“Like? You don’t love each other?” Hae-kyung asked.

“Hae-kyungssi, love can happen any time. All that we need is to be able to at least stand each other and my fiancée and I have been friends for a very long time, so eventually there will be love.” He said and got out of the car. He came over to her side and opened her door for her.

Hae-kyung got out of the car and walked beside him till they entered the restaurant. While they were waiting to be seated, a woman walked past them and suddenly turned around and walked towards them.

“Gunah.” She called out as she approached them and Hwan-gun turned to the woman and greeted her with a smile.

“Ah-reumah, what are you doing here?” He asked.

“I just finished having lunch with a friend of mine. What are you doing here?”

“This is Lee Hae-kyung, she’s going to be helping me with the hotel promotions and such. Lee Hae-kyungssi, this is my fiancée, Hong Ah-reum.” Hwan-gun said and made the introductions.

“Lee Hae-kyung.” Ah-reum studied her face like she had seen her before. “Heokshi, did you go to Myosang high?”

“Yes, I did. How did you know that?” Hae-kyung asked puzzled.

“I went to the same school. I transferred out in junior high and went to America so that might be why you don’t remember me. I used to sit behind you in class.” Ah-reum smiled at her and hoped she would remember her.

“Hong Ah-reum. Hong Ah-reum. Hong Ah-reum?!” Hae-kyung said in surprise when she finally remembered her. “Wow, you got a whole lot prettier. What happened to your glasses, they were so cute?” Hae-kyung smiled back at her.

“Contacts.” She said pointing at her eyes. “It’s so nice to see you again. You look just the same as when we were in school. Are you still breaking hearts all over the place?” Ah-reum asked.

Hae-kyung blushed. “What are you talking about?”

“Eyy, don’t be modest now. All the boys loved you back then. Do you know how many girls wanted to pull your hair out just because the boys they liked fell over themselves for you?”

“Ladies, I’m sure you’re having fun catching up but Hae-kyungssi and I need to go and have our lunch now. I’m starving and I still need to get back to work.” Hwan-gun spoke up finally interrupting the little reunion.

“Ah mian mian. Hae-kyungah, give me your phone number and I’ll contact you later. My friend is probably waiting for me outside and wondering what happened to me.” Ah-reum said, handing her phone to Hae-kyung for her to input her number. Hae-kyung did and returned the phone to her. “I’ll see you later Gunah.” She said and waved at them before leaving.

“She’s just as nice as I remembered her. She was very shy back in school and she didn’t talk much. Small world, I can’t believe she’s your fiancée.”

They finally sat down to their lunch. “You know I could totally see you leaving a trail of broken hearts behind you in high school.” Hwan-gun said after watching her for a while.

“What are you even talking about? It wasn’t that bad. I just got a few notes here and there that’s all.” Hae-kyung replied and swallowed her mouthful.

“How come you’re not married? I mean giving how popular you were someone should have snatched you up by now.” Hwan-gun said and Hae-kyung clenched her left hand into a fist so painfully her nails began to dig into her palm.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She replied. She looked down and tried to concentrate on her food but her vision began to blur as tears filled her eyes. She reached for a napkin and dabbed at her eyes. ‘Damnit, I’m not going to cry in front of a stranger.’

Hwan-gun studied her bent head and noticed she was looking sick again, just like she was when her friend had told her she was getting married. He wondered what was wrong with her.

“Are you okay? Is the food not to your liking?” Hwan-gun knew it wasn’t the food, he knew there was something else bothering her but he didn’t know how to ask her what it was without sounding nosy.

“I’m fine, the food is fine.” She replied. She tried to eat some more but she found that she had lost her appetite and she couldn’t swallow.

“Do you want to leave?” He asked.

“If you don’t mind.” She replied.

“Alright, let’s go.” They left the restaurant and he drove her back to his office to pick up her car. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He said when she got into her car and started the engine. As she drove away, Hwan-gun felt something settle in his chest, he was beginning to worry about her.

My Favourite K-drama Women in 2016

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There were so quite a number of good dramas this year and I decided to compile a list of some of my favourite women from some of my favourite dramas from 2016. This list is not in order of ranking so it’s not me picking which woman I liked most or which one I liked least. These are just women who I either want to be or want to be friends with because they are so awesome. There might be some spoilers, so proceed with caution.

1. Shin Se-kyung as Boon-yi From Six Flying Dragonsrestmb_jhidxmake

Boon-yi’s life began when her mother left her and her older brother Ddang-sae (played by actor Byun Yo-han) and just upped and disappeared one day. After a while, she ended up being separated from her brother too and became truly alone in the world. While she was young, she met Lee Bang-won (played by actor Yoo Ah-in) with whom she became allies after he promised to get his father to use his power to find her friend’s mother. As she grew up, she became the leader of her village people and helped them secretly farm lands to avoid the heavy taxes they had to pay. They were soon caught by the government and she was made to watch some of her people be killed because of their rebellion. She and Lee Bang-won meet again in the future after she robbed him of his clothing and after she set the government storehouse on fire, Lee Bang-won starts to fall in love with her.

Six Flying Dragons is one of my favourite dramas of the year and Boon-yi became one of my favourite heroines of the year. She was an embodiment of bravery, passion for her people, and wisdom beyond her years. She and Lee Bang-won are also one of my favourite couples of the year and my heart will forever be broken because Shin Se-kyung and Yoo Ah-in do not get a happy ending again this time. (They were together in Fashion King as well). I would break down in tears at random times and at random places after this drama ended and I was so devastated that I couldn’t listen to any songs from the OST without crying. Such was my love for the 4th Flying Dragon, Boon-yi. Representative of the People and the love of Lee Bang-won’s life.

2. Han Ye-ri as Cheok Sa-gwang from Six Flying Dragonssixdragons29-00513

Cheok Sa-gwang (played by the very beautiful Han Ye-ri) was the greatest swordsman in all of Goryeo but she hated killing people. She always wore a mask to prevent her face from being seen and this helped her escape from the life and title of being greatest swordsman in Goryeo for a while. All she wanted was to live quietly with the man she loved (who also happened to be the last King of Goryeo) but because of the ambition of Lee Seong-gye, Jung Do-jeon, and Jung Mong-joo, she ended up having to come out of retirement to defend the lives of the people she loved.

Honestly, Six Flying Dragons is chock-full of awesome women however, these two ended up being my favourite because they were women who were neither good nor bad, they were only women who believed in what they believed in and worked hard to protect those beliefs and the people they cared about.

3. Hyeri as Jung Geu-rin from Entertainercgx2zkzuuaisxta

Okay, I know Hyeri is not the greatest actress out there, but her character as Jung Geu-rin (Green) was so endearing and adorable. In Entertainer, she acted as Jo Haneul’s (played by Kang Min-hyuk) very protective adopted elder sister/manager when he joined the Ttantara band and she was also Shin Suk-ho’s (played by Ji Sung) love interest. At first I was really wary of that potential pairing because Ji Sung is much older than Hyeri and a million times better at acting than Hyeri but Jung Geu-rin turned out to be a breath of fresh air. She was cute but not overtly so, her character was also like a soft, soothing balm on the wounds of the other characters who needed her to calm the occasional storms in their lives.

4. Chae Jung-ahn as Yeo Min-joo from Entertainerentertainer4

Chae Jung-ahn’s Yeo Min-joo is that awesome big sister everyone wishes they had. She knows how to have fun and will spoil you, but she will also scold you with love and keep all your secrets. She’s the one you look for when you need some really strong advice but she’s also the one you call when you need bail money after doing something stupid with your friends. Awesome from start to finish, and she had the cutest romance with the cutest Single Daddy in the world (Na Yeon-soo played by newcomer Lee Tae-sun).

5. Seo Ye-ji as Shim Soon-deok from Moorim School

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I don’t care what anyone says about Moorim School, that drama was one of my favourite dramas of the year. It was ridiculously cute but oh so addictive. Shim Soon-deok is a badass martial artist with aegyo for days, proving that there is such a thing as the best of both worlds. Her amazing chemistry with Lee Hyun-woo also helped me in enjoying this drama. She attends the Moorim Institute by day (against her father’s will) and works at a fried chicken place by night to make some money. On one of her chicken errands, she gets entangled in a plot to discredit K-pop star, who also happens to be losing his hearing, Yoon Shi-woo (played by Lee Hyun-woo). Shin-woo has to escape the public’s changing attitude and ends up at Moorim School, where he learns a secret about himself and falls in love with the awesomely badass Soon-deok.

6. Jung Eu-gene as Hwang Sun-ah

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Hwang Sun-ah is just as badass as Soon-deok, in fact they are the two best fighters in the school as well as best friends and roommates. Sun-ah also ends up learning a secret about herself over the course of the drama and ends up in a relationship with Wang Chi-ang (played by Vixx’s Lee Hongbin).

7. Song Hye-kyo as Kang Mo-yeon from Descendants of the Sunvlcsnap-2016-03-12-03h39m24s589

This drama is my re-discovery of Song Hye-kyo. I was initially put off at the thought of her playing this character since I didn’t really like her previous performance in That Winter The Wind Blows but I trusted Kim Eun-sook since she writes her heroines in such a way that I can’t help but be enamored with them. Of course, Song Hye-kyo brought so much life to her character of Kang Mo-yeon. A doctor who believes every life is worth saving and would do anything to save a life. She ends up falling in love with Captain Yoo Si-jin of the Alpha Team (played by Song Joong-ki). Their chemistry is something that needs to be experienced and helped along with the ridiculously witty and cheesy dialogue from Kim Eun-sook’s genius brain, my summer months were filled with butterflies.

8. Lee Ji-eun (IU) as Hae Soo from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo7a9d712d-a6ff-4f8a-a972-2644819cd318

This is another casting I wasn’t too sure about because Lee Ji-eun is much younger than Lee Jun-ki who was her love interest in this drama. I was so wary because in Lee Jun-ki’s previous drama, Scholar Who Walks The  Night, he was cast opposite Lee Yoo-bi who is much younger than he is and has a baby-face to boot. It was awkward watching that drama and it didn’t help that they didn’t have any chemistry whatsoever.

Lee Ji-eun plays Go Ha-jin, a 21st century woman who almost drowns in a river and somehow ends up in 4th century Goryeo in the body of Hae Soo, a young noblewoman. She has to navigate her new life in this strange time and ends up catching the eye of a few princes. She had to deal with palace intrigues as she gets swept up in the battle for the throne when the man she loves decided he wanted to become king. One of my favourite things about Hae Soo was her large heart, it ended up being her undoing because she got so heartbroken by all the deaths (her cousin dies and her foster mother dies) and suffering (her best friend betrays her, her first love abandons her, and the man she loves becomes a monster in front of her eyes) she experienced, she soon became sick of it and eventually died. She went from headstrong young girl to tired world-weary woman over the course of her life and the drama. Scarlet Heart: Ryeo was definitely one of the best dramas of the year and one of my forever favourites. I would definitely recommend it, if you don’t care to be a sobbing, emotional mess at the end.

9. SNSD Seohyun as Princess Woo-hee from Scarlet Heart: Ryeoseohyun-scarlet-heart-goryeo

Princess Woo-hee is the daughter of the last King of the Shilla dynasty and she has a bitter grudge against Wang Geon (the current king of the Goryeo dynasty) because he killed her family. She lives at a gibang (a house of gisaengs) where she trains to be a dancer (and also secretly plots her assassination of the king). She meets Wang Baek-ah (played by Nam Joo-hyuk) who pretends to be a musician at first although he’s one of the princes and gets attached to him. She soon discovers that their love cannot be after she accidentally stabs him while trying to kill his father. They try to work it out for a while and they succeed, until another king ascends the throne and wants to wipe out the rest of her family. They weather that storm too however, their love story just wasn’t meant to end well because she ends up having to sacrifice herself for the unity of the country. I’m not even gonna lie, their love story was so underdeveloped but so damn cute I cried hot tears when she died.

10. Z-Hera as Park Soon-deok from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo

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Park Soon-deok is the daughter of Great General Park Soo-kyung, and there are only two things she loves in her life. Fighting and Prince Wang Eun (played by EXO’s Baekhyun). When she was younger, she was a tomboy and Wang Eun was the only boy who thought she was cute. She nursed the biggest crush on him and when she grew up, she decided she was going to marry him. She even killed a bear for him, true love I tell you. Wang Eun wsa having none of that because he was nursing a crush on Hae Soo, who at the time was in love with Prince Wang Wook and saw no one but him (until he abandoned her). Soon-deok managed to marry Eun and eventually win his heart. But just when they start to enjoy being together, Wang Yo (who killed his brother and became king) arrests them on trumped up charges of treason and kills the both if them.

Moral of this story, do not fall in love with a Goryeo Prince, you will die.

11. Park Hye-soo as Yoo Eun-jae, Ryu Hwa-young as Kang Yi-na, Han Ye-ri as Yoon Jin-myung, Park Eun-bin as Song Ji-won, and Han Seung-yeon as Jung Ye-eun from Age Of Youth (The Girls of Belle Epoque)

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Age of Youth is possibly one of the cutest dramas about female friendship that I have ever seen. It is a story about 5 girls who live in a share house named Belle Epoque and their different lives. Eun-jae, far left (played by Park Hye-soo) is the youngest and is in her first year in college. She is painfully shy at first and can’t make coherent sentences, however she hides a huge secret. Jin-myung, second left (played by Han Ye-ri) is the oldest and in her final year of college. She has a very hard life and works three jobs to be able to pay off the loans in hospital bills her mother has saddled her with. She rarely laughs and tries not to deal with the other girls too much. Yi-na, middle (played by Ryu Hwa-young) is the second oldest and lives a very lavish lifestyle which she finances through her sugar daddies, however she struggles to find meaning in her life because she suffers from survivor’s guilt after surviving a terrible accident. Ji-won, second right (played by Park Eun-bin) is a journalism student at the same university as Eun-jae and Ye-eun. All she wants is to get a boyfriend and she’s the type to fall in love at the drop of a hat. She’s the bubbliest of them all and tries to act as mood-maker in the house. Ye-eun, far right (played by Han Seung-yeon) is a nutrition student at the same university as Eun-jae and Ji-won. She’s extremely dedicated to her boyfriend even when he’s a total jerk to her. She is sometimes brash and tactless but she is kind when she needs to be. She is also obsessed with not gaining weight. The girls’ friendship develops over the course of the drama as they band together to help one another through difficult situations whether it’s saving the youngest Eun-jae from being attacked, helping oldest Jin-myung work one of her jobs when she gets stuck out of town, comforting Jin-myung when her brother dies and her mother goes to prison, or going to rescue Ye-eun when she gets kidnapped. They laughed together and cried together and helped each other through whatever curve ball life threw at them.

Honourable Mentions: Park Shi-eun as Lady Hae and Woo Hee-jin as Lady Oh from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo

Two women who also fatally loved Goryeo Princes.

Lady Hae (left) was Hae Soo’s cousin who was married to Prince Wang Wook and loved him very dearly. She has a very kind heart and tells her husband to go ahead and marry Hae Soo after she dies because the jerk told her that he was in love with Hae Soo.

After the death of Lady Hae, Hae Soo has to become a court lady because she cut herself trying to prevent the king from marrying her. Since the king had once proposed to her, she became the king’s woman whether he married her or not and no one else was allowed to marry her unless the king released her. She enters the palace as a court lady and Lady Oh takes her under her wing, after much punishment that is. Hae Soo wormed her way into Lady Oh’s heart and Lady Oh became the mother she didn’t have. It turns out Lady Oh and the King (Wang Geon) loved each other at some point in their life and the King had convinced her he wasn’t interested in the throne and would do anything for her, until he became interested in the throne and abandoned her (you know, I’m starting to think there is something awfully evil about that throne). When Hae Soo is accused of trying to kill the crown prince and is sentenced to death, Lady Oh takes her place and sacrifices herself but not before she tells Hae Soo to be careful about falling for a prince because at the end of the day, they will abandon her. If only Hae Soo had listened to mother, because mother always knows best.

So, those are some of my favourite women from k-dramas this year. It has been a really good year for dramas, a lot of good ones came out this year. Goodbye, until my next blog post.

Image Credit to Google since that’s where I found most of these pictures.

Descendants of the Sun Series Review

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I would have loved, more than anything, to be able to write all the recaps of each episode but life happened and I got buried under everything and before I knew it, the finale arrived.

This drama reminded me of why I dearly love Kim Eun-sook’s stories, not that I ever forgot thanks to my endless re-watching of Heirs. I’ve heard a lot of people say that the felt a disconnect from the drama after the Urk episodes ended, but I disagree with that. One of the things I love about Kim Eun-sook is how character-centered her dramas are. It’s always about people and their lives. The Urk episodes were just a chapter in the lives of the characters and when that chapter ended, they moved on to another chapter. Life in Seoul. Danger doesn’t only exist in war-torn countries, and the Seoul episodes also proved that.

What I liked:

  1. The story. This drama is contending with Heirs for my favourite Writer Kim drama and so far they are neck and neck. I loved the simplicity of the story which is truly Writer Kim’s trademark. Sure on the outside, her stories may look farfetched and out of this world, but if you strip away all the pomp and glitter, it’s just a story of people falling in love and struggling for that love.
  2. The Characters. I have family in the military so this drama became special to me on a deep level because I was able to experience it much differently than maybe others would. I sympathized with every single one of them even the minor ones, I felt their struggles and their pain and I saw them as real people and not just characters in a drama.
  3. The OST. The OST is one of my favourites, Always and This Love always bring me so many emotions.
  4. The Cinematography. I have no way to describe this except that one needs to watch it to really see it.

 

What I didn’t like:

There are only two things I really don’t like about Writer Kim’s dramas, her depiction of foreigners (this drama is not different than most other K-dramas in that sense honestly) and the over-saturation of product placements. I do realize that dramas require a lot of money to be made and I’m grateful to the sponsors because they allow me to watch so many awesome dramas, but one of Kim Eun-sook’s weakness is merging PPL into the plot. She managed to sell Samsung’s waterproof feature amazingly well, see Mo-yeon’s confession at the end of episode 8, but everything else almost made my eyes glaze over.

Here are a few screenshots from the series finale, I’m going to miss this drama a lot and I look forward to Writer Kim’s next drama, like I always do.

 

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Is it really you?

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Sorry I left

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I Missed You

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I’m sorry.

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Hyung is back, Ki-bumah

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Look at this. No, I want to look at you.

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You’re so pretty

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I know right?

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Fan-boy Dae-young

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Dae-young enjoys Red Velvet

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Dae-young REALLY enjoys Red Velvet

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Exhibit A

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It wasn’t me, honest.

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Father, I’m Pregnant.

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Fall into my eyes Ja-ae

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NOW!

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Beauty and Big Boss

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*Puking Rainbows*

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Didn’t even get to see the bride.

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Hmm, Smell of Weddings

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Onew Breaks The Fourth Wall.

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Man, I’m going to lose another heel.

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Why Now?

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Sigh, Paperwork

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Must Wipe Lipstick Before Going Into Battle

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Get Up Sang-hyun

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But I’m On Vacation

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Here We Go Again

Drama Spotlight: Moorim School

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Moorim School aired a while ago but I just decided to do a spotlight now because my brain feels like it’ll implode from trying to get my Descendants of the Sun episode 10 recap done.

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Moorim school is basically about four people, Yoon Shi-woo (played by Lee Hyun-woo), Wang Chi-ang (Played by Vixx’s Hongbin), Shim Soon-deok (played by Seo Ye-ji) and Hwang Sun-ah (played by Jung Eugene).

Yoon Shi-woo is an idol singer who starts losing his hearing and has become expendable to his company. They scheme a plot to destroy his reputation and have him leave the industry since his contract is almost up anyway.

Wang Chi-ang is the illegitimate son of Wang Hao, a Chinese businessman (played by Lee Bum-soo), whose only joy in life is his mother.

Hwang Sun-ah is the daughter of Hwang Moo-seong, the Dean of Moorim School, and also attends the school.

Shim Soon-deok is the daughter of a blind man, she works a part-time job at a chicken restaurant and is best friends and roommates with Sun-ah.

Chi-ang meets Shi-woo for the first time in his father’s hotel and it’s hate at first sight. Shi-woo can’t stand him because he thinks Chi-ang is arrogant without reason and Chi-ang hates him because he thinks he has not talent. Soon-deok is on one of business days and camps out in front of the hall where Shi-woo is performing to sell dumplings. Sun-ah has snuck out of school to watch Shi-woo perform against her father’s wishes. As the performance is going on, Shi-woo suddenly loses his hearing and at the same time an accident occurs. A light falls and it’s headed straight for him but he can’t hear everyone telling him to get out of the way. He looks up just in time before the light hits him and stops it with his force. Sun-ah notices this and tells him to come to Moorim School if he wants to get his hearing fixed. Later that day, Shi-woo and his ex-girlfriend meet but unknown to him, the ex-girlfriend is a trap his company set to destroy his career. They hired some guys to pretend to be thugs and harass the girl and they set paparazzi on him to catch everything. Soon-deok who is passing after a day of successful business notices that Shi-woo getting into his car and driving off after the paparazzi to get the camera and back and thinks he ran away to save himself. She beats up the thugs and does an interview with a journalist who just happened to be standing there (part of his company’s plot) on how Shi-woo just left the girl standing there and went off on his own.

His career is ruined but he remembers the girl telling him to go to Moorim School if he wanted to get his hearing fixed and decides to try to find this school. Meanwhile, Chi-ang’s father wants him to go to Moorim School but the boy doesn’t want to be away from his mother. His father’s men all but kidnap and take him to the school. On the way over, he pretends like he needs the toilet and when they let him out of the car, he runs straight for a cliff, loses his footing and falls in the water. Soon-deok happens to see him and pulls him out of the water, saving his life. Chi-ang’s father promises to take his mother back to China with him (which is Chi-ang’s only wish) if Chi-ang will go to Moorim School and he agrees. They have Soon-deok take him since she’s also attending the school, albeit without her father knowing, and that’s where she and Chi-ang run into Shi-woo again. He’s trying to find his way to the school since you have to be a student to be able to access the school which is in the middle of the forest. He sees Soon-deok and realizes she’s the girl who gave the interview that ruined his life and he gets mad at her. Chi-ang warns him not to yell at Soon-deok and they get into a fight. They roll around a bit when suddenly the school appears in front of them, the seal has been opened. Welcome to Moorim School.

Okay, this drama reminded me a lot of Harry Potter when I was watching it, since it had a lot of supernatural elements and I even renamed the characters to give them matching Harry Potter character names. Yoon Shi-woo became Shi-woo Potter, Wang Chi-ang was Chi-ang Longbottom, Shim-Soon-deok was Soon-deok Granger (my Harry/Hermione ship) and Hwang Sun-ah was Sun-ah Lovegood (because she’s awesome like Luna). I had a lot of other cool names too for the other characters too but that would take a while to write.

What I liked:

  1. The Premise. Like I said, the drama reminded me a lot of Harry Potter and that is one of my favourite series ever.
  2. The Characters. There was a huge variety of characters from all over the world in this drama, Europeans, Africans, English, and of course Asians. I loved that the writer tried to be diverse but there were some ridiculous things too. There are no moose in Ghana, okay writernim?
  3. The Soundtrack. I love the soundtrack. I’ve got one of the songs as my ringtone right now. There were a few fast-paced songs like this and this and my personal favourite, this, but there were some other smoother ones like thisthis, and this. Depending on what’s your flavour.
  4. The chemistry between the characters. I loved the romance, the bromance, the womance, the side romance they were all so cute.

 

What I didn’t like:

The Pace. The writer dropped the ball around the 8th episode as far as I’m concerned. The drama was initially scheduled for 20 episodes but was cut down to 16 due to low ratings and I think at that point about 12 episodes were already filmed. The writer now had only four episodes left to finish up her story which took her about 6 episodes to set up. We ended up being rushed through everything and at the end of the day we got a happy ending but not a very satisfying journey.

Would I watch Moorim School again? Maybe when there’s nothing else to watch and with a lot of fast forward.

Critical rating: 5/10.

Emotional rating: 7/10. I really enjoyed it, flaws and all.

OST rating: 9/10.

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Lee Hyun-woo as Yoon Shi-woo

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Seo Ye-ji as Shim Soon-deok

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Jung Eugene as Hwang Sun-ah

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Hongbin as Wang Chi-ang

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Shin Hyun-joon as Hwang Moo-sung

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Shin Sung-woo as Chae Yoon

Image credit to all original owners.

Descendants of the Sun episode 9 recap

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Mo-yeon runs into the room, grabs her phone and runs right out again. Daniel comments that music really does change a lot of things and Si-jin figures he’s the one in the middle of the change. Si-jin leaps out of the window shocking poor Daniel and cuts of Mo-yeon’s exit. Mo-yeon wonders how he’s in front of her when she clearly just left him in the room upstairs and Si-jin replies that he kinda has an advantage, special training and all that. *I just have to say, I love all the faces that Mo-yeon makes. They are so cute and funny.* She complains about him using his powers for personal reasons instead of protecting the country and he says it’s because she totally just broadcasted how crazy about him she is all over the base. She says that he did say that there needed to be doctors who did broadcast, besides why was he listening to someone else’s recording? He says he wasn’t listening that he just happened to hear it and she says that even if that’s true, how could he have just listened to it all the way? *She is so cute when she’s embarrassed.* Si-jin moves closer to her and she backs away. He says she confessed when she thought she was going to die and changed her mind when she survived and Mo-yeon replies that it wasn’t a confession. Si-jin reminds her that it was her voice over the speaker before but she denies it. When he points out that the phone is hers, she says it’s not even a phone. *I’m dying here. Why is she so cute?* She scolds herself for rambling and Si-jin can’t help but smile at her cuteness. He tells her how honoured he feels to be included in her will and she says it’s okay as long as he knows and starts to leave. He holds her arm and tells her that just knowing isn’t enough and when she tries to distract him by pointing to something over his shoulder, he doesn’t fall for it. He tells her to stop rejecting him already and confess to him directly. She promises to not run away and talk to him if he lets go of her arm and when he does, she totally runs out the door. *I love her, where can I get one?*

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Ja-ae and Sang-hyun are enjoying a night stroll and Sang-hyun tells her that they should follow in Si-jin and Mo-yeon’s footsteps and kiss between work breaks. Ja-ae acts all scandalized at that idea and Sang-hyun reminds her of his dying wish to get rid of his secret folder. She gets flustered and runs off and Sang-hyun runs after her. Woo-geun, Chul-ho and Kyung-nam soldiers sit behind a building and talk about the confession they just heard. They had placed bets on whether anything was going on between Si-jin and Mo-yeon. Woo-geun lost and he has to pay up. Chul-ho wonders if they have to refer to Mo-yeon as sister-in-law now and Woo-geun says that Si-jin and Mo-yeon would have to get married first. He says he doesn’t like Mo-yeon at all and Kyung-nam and when Kyung-nam asks him why since she’s pretty, hardworking and a successful doctor, he replies that it’s the reason he doesn’t like her. He doesn’t understand why a woman like that would want to be with a soldier. He says she would eventually ask Si-jin to quit the army or transfer when she finds out what they do. Then he totally walks away without paying.

Mo-yeon is trying to have a meeting with her team but they tease her about her confessing her feelings or if we’re going to be formal, Si-jin confessed first. She tells them to at least talk behind her back since they are educated people but they pay no mind and ask her teasingly if their first day is today or tomorrow.  She ends up making a slip about today being their first day and yells at them in frustration to just go back to Korea already.

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Chi-hoon is trying to take Min-jae’s blood pressure but his hand is shaking badly and Min-jae requests another doctor. Sang-hyun says there are no other doctors that can treat him and tells him not to treat his doctor like a TV channel that he can just change at will.

Mo-yeon does her to best to avoid running into anyone and creeps along the side of the Medicube. *She is so adorable I really can’t deal.* When she tries to avoid some passing soldiers, she turns around and runs straight into Myeong-ju who wonders what she’s doing. She says she was totally nothing doing anything and Myeong-ju replies that she looked like she was trying to avoid the people because of embarrassment and commends her bravery in wanting to date the captain of the alpha team. Mo-yeon candidly asks her if she’s not scared because of the work Dae-young does. She worries about things like him leaving and not returning and Myeong-ju tells her that she knows every dangerous thing Dae-young and Si-jin do but more than his job, the thing that scares her is not being able to be with him. She figures that as long as they are under the same sky, she’ll be fine. She leaves and Mo-yeon ponders over her words.

Si-jin is sitting outside and playing with the rock from the beach while he broods and Myeong-ju comes up to him, catches the rock, and asks him what’s up. He asks her how she feels about her boyfriend doing such a dangerous job and she sighs at the fact that everyone is treating her like some all-knowing eight ball. She says that Mo-yeon asked her the same question and when Si-jin asks her what she told Mo-yeon, Myeong-ju replies that he get that answer from her. Myeong-ju asks him who he’s going to throw the rock at and he tells her to give it back. She playfully tells him to try taking it from her and she backs away from him, she collides smack with Dae-young’s chest. She starts to walk away and he holds her by her shoulder and comments that she and Si-jin look quite close. He asks her if she’s still mad and she says of course she is. She doesn’t understand why he won’t do that thing that everyone else does with her and it’s not like she’s asking for it three times a day. Si-jin’s mind goes straight to the gutter and he’s all “you mean that thing”. *Boy, calm yourself.* Myeong-ju clarifies that she meant for Dae-young to hold her hand properly and give her hugs but he won’t even do any of that. She hands Si-jin the rock and tells him to please throw it at Dae-young before she walks away.

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Life is back to normal for the women as they resume their morning ogling and Ja-ae even refers to the men as Urk’s doves. Ja-ae tells her about the meeting she’s supposed to attend at the UN office and how she’d be late and Mo-yeon just decides to be late while staring dreamily at the jogging soldiers. Min-ji calls out Si-jin’s name and Mo-yeon bolts as far as her legs can carry her, straight into a sea of jogging soldiers. I don’t know which flusters her more, the thought that Si-jin could be behind her or the fact she’s running straight into a sea of half-naked men. Si-jin isn’t actually behind her and Min-ji wonders how she can fall for that. She wonders if they did more than kiss and Ja-ae asks her if it’s true that people kiss between work breaks. *Why are all the women in this drama so adorable?*

Mo-yeon takes a break from running and hides behind a wall, under a window, which Si-jin just happens to be looking out of. She breathes a sigh of relief and turns around only to see him standing there and watching her, chin-in-hand. She almost falls over from shock and asks him how is standing behind her when he was supposed to be all the way over at the women’s end. He replies that he’d been standing here for a while and she realizes she’s been had. He asks her if she’s been tricked and she starts to say it is his fault but she says she’s busy instead. She has a meeting to attend so she starts to leave and he holds her back and says he can just give her a ride since he has to attend the meeting too. She refuses and promises to call him if she’s in trouble again. He tells her to not deny her feelings after she already confessed them since he’ll end up liking her more that way. He tells her she looks extra pretty today and she tells him to stop it. *But your face is totally don’t stop it. Mo-yeonah!* He sees Dae-young approaching and tells Mo-yeon to meet at the gate in 10 minutes before he closes the window and leaves. Mo-yeon shuts the outside window just as Myeong-ju approaches and asks her what she is doing. Mo-yeon leaves without answering Myeong-ju and when Myeong-ju opens the window to see who Mo-yeon was talking to, she sees Dae-young on the other side and because she’s still pissed off at him, she slams the window shut in his face.

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Ye-hwa gives the soldiers acupuncture treatments and Ki-bum studies for his GED while he gets his treatment. He asks if Ye-hwa went to school for Oriental Medicine and she replies that she only learned from her dad who was an Eastern Doctor. The men begin to shift uncomfortably because she isn’t certified but she yells at them and gets them to stay still.

Mo-yeon and Si-jin are returning from their meeting at the UN and Mo-yeon comments on how she thought they’d be all serious because of the situation on-hand and Si-jin tells her that humor is a must in serious situations so that the atmosphere is not so tense. She asks him if he’s proud of doing a job that someone has to do and he replies that it’s not conducive for dating which makes her laugh. He asks her how many boyfriends she’s had and she wonders why guys always ask that question. He wants to know who else has asked her that and while she is thinking, the truck goes over a landmine. The truck comes to a stop and Mo-yeon wonders what’s wrong. He tells her not to move and throws a rock in the direction they came. Mo-yeon asks him what it is and he replies that it’s a landmine. He says they must have moved around as a result of the earthquake and tells her not to wander around on her own. Mo-yeon’s phone isn’t working and neither is Si-jin’s radio. He asks her for her bag and puts some flags with ‘mine’ written on them in it and tells her they’re getting out of there. She wonders how that’s possible and he tells her to follow his footsteps. He checks for the first mine and tells her to come to him, she takes his hand to aid her jump and because it’s a little far she ends up in his arms. *Geez, why am I getting butterflies?* They keep moving and find another mine, so Si-jin makes the location with a flag. He tells her to not worry and just enjoy the view and she replies that it’s his jokes that give her strength in moments like this. Mo-yeon is so obedient in following Si-jin’s exact footsteps and not moving until he tells her to and when they finally get out of the minefield, she crouches down in relief and Si-jin holds her shoulder and tells her she did a good job. Mo-yeon complains about her life, she’s always at the verge of dying and has already wrecked two cars *Mo-yeonah, I’d argue that Si-jin’s the one who keeps killing the cars though* and Si-jin says that they might as well wreck some lipstick now. *Soldier boy say what now?* It’s not what I was expecting though since Si-jin just wanted the lipstick to draw a sign to warn people about the mines and Mo-yeon adorably draws a skull and crossbones on the sign because there might be people who don’t understand English.

They walk along as the sun sets and Mo-yeon wonders how much longer they have to keep walking. Si-jin replies that it’ll probably take them until the following day considering their pace and when she groans, he offers to hold hands with her as they walk. She glares at him and refuses and he reminds her that she said he was ‘her’ sturdy man in the recording and she reiterates that it wasn’t her voice. He wonders how she can be so different in the morning and in the afternoon. She asks him how she is different and he replies that she’s extremely pretty in the morning and frighteningly pretty in the afternoon. *Oh my gosh Yoo Si-jin, just stop it already!* Mo-yeon scoffs and tells him to admit he’s dated a lot of women. Si-jin wonders why women like asking that question but never believe his answer. If he says he’s dated many they get upset and if he says he didn’t date many they don’t believe him. Now it’s her turn to ask who the woman who got upset and the one who didn’t believe him are and he tries to distract her by pointing out an approaching truck. Mo-yeon jumps in front of the truck, trying to get the driver to pull over and help them but Si-jin pulls her out of the way before the driver runs her over, he has no intention of stopping. Another truck approaches and Si-jin pulls out his gun and says he’s going to hijack it but Mo-yeon tells him to put it away before jumping up and down and waving her arms at the driver again. The truck drives by them again and she tells Si-jin to go ahead and hijack it. He points out that the truck has stopped a little ways from them and they hop on-board. She thanks him for saving her again and he replied that he was strong because she helped him. She tells him that she’ll live well and he replies that if she’s going to live well with another guy then he doesn’t want her to do so. He says that Myeong-ju told him about her asking if she wasn’t worried about the work he boyfriend did and Mo-yeon wonders if Myeong-ju told him the answer. He says that she told him to hear the answer from Mo-yeon and she repeats what Myeong-ju said about being more afraid of not being with Dae-young. Si-jin asks if they are going to be apart soon too, “Is Doctor Kang on the list of medical team members returning to Korea?” She replies matter-of-factly that her name isn’t on the list and Si-jin, trying not to get his hopes up, says that it can’t be because of him. She replies matter-of-factly again that it is because of him, because she wants to be with him longer. *Attention everyone, we have a confession. I repeat, we have a confession.* She says since she just confessed, would he like her to apologize instead and in response he pulls her close and kisses her. He pulls back from the kiss and they look at each other for a beat before she wraps her arms around his neck and pulls him in for a deeper, and longer kiss as the truck disappears into the sunset. *I’m not exactly sure how I’ll manage to be coherent from here on out.*

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Si-jin and Mo-yeon finally return to the settlement that night and as if they weren’t just making out in the back of a truck, they tell each other calmly that they worked hard and leave to do their duties. They turn to leave and they have pieces of hay stuck to their hair. *Omgah! Omgah!! Omgah!!! Am I the only one losing my mind here?* Ja-ae and Sang-hyun watch them as they leave and Ja-ae says Mo-yeon will be very embarrassed later while Sang-hyun comments that Si-jin must have been very happy earlier. *Do you guys know something?* Ja-ae says she wishes she could remove the hay for Mo-yeon and Sang-hyun says he wishes he could hit Si-jin. Ja-ae glares at him, they are obviously having different reactions to the same thing, and she says she wishes she could hit him. *Just date already.*

Jin is about to run away from the factory carrying a bag on his back when he runs into Argus and his men. He surrenders the bag which contains the safe where the diamonds are hidden and tells Argus that he’s going to need to open it himself since the lock is broken. Argus’ man takes the safe and Argus points a gun at Jin’s head and tells him that he’s 27 hours and 48 minutes late. *Okay, this guy can be really menacing.* Jin begs for his life and blames the earthquake but Argus tells him that in war and disasters, no one ever cares or notices corpses. Jin promises to do anything and everything for Argus and Argus tells him to only worry about doing what he tells him to do before he leaves. Jin looks like he just crapped his pants in relief. Argus’ man opens the safe back at the hideout, and there are no diamonds. Argus is understandably furious and when his man offers to go and get Jin, Argus tells him to forget about it since Jin is already in another territory. *That greedy son of a biscuit eater.*

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Jin is making a fuss at the Medicube, asking to be sent to Korea because he’s dangerously ill. Ja-ae tells Myeong-ju that nothing showed up on the X-ray and Myeong-ju tells Jin to quiet down. She scolds him for only coming to the Medicube for a ticket and he makes to hit her when Dae-young grabs him by the collar and asks him to come outside with him. Outside, Dae-young offers to beat Jin and break whatever bone he needs to be broken since he desperately desires to be a sick person. Dae-young kicks him and knocks him around a few times before Jin starts begging for his life like the disgusting rat that he is. Dae-young gives him five seconds to go back and apologize to the ladies and Jin tells Chi-hoon, who happens to be standing behind Dae-young, to go and relay his apology to Myeong-ju and Ja-ae. Chi-hoon asks if he wants a seat on tomorrow’s plane and offers up his own.

Jin sits on the bus headed to the airport the next day and recalls how he had swallowed the diamonds the day before, before locking the safe, busting up the lock and handing an empty safe to Argus. *This guy has a serious death wish.* In the present, Chi-hoon is nowhere to be found and Min-ji wonders if Jin stole his seat on the plane. Sang-hyun finds Chi-hoon crouched behind a stack of boxes in the Medicube and sits next to him. He asks him why he’s not going back to Korea and while he jokes about it being that since his fiancée had put on a lot of weight he doesn’t feel as eager to be with her, he tells him that Urk is too far to run away from her. Chi-hoon says that if he left he wouldn’t be a doctor and Sang-hyun asks him if it has anything to do with his patient, Min-jae. He offers to help Chi-hoon but Chi-hoon just shakes his head and says he’ll try to do it by himself now and if he still fails, he’ll ask for help.

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At the airport, Jin is about to board when he notices Argus’ men ahead of him in the queue. He hides behind a wall and waits for them to leave. In the hideout, lackey boy informs Argus that Jin didn’t show up at the airport but he’s set up a trap with the chief of police. Argus says he’ll like to rip Jin to shreds when next he sees him *you have my blessing* and tells lackey boy to prepare a red rose as a gift for some guy named Colonel Aman. The red rose is a girl who sits in a tent and combs her hair lifelessly as other kids look on. *sick*

Si-jin aims a sniper rifle at a target who turns out to be Mo-yeon washing her face. *Boy, do you know how dangerous that is? That gun better not be loaded.* He aims the gun at her and draws little hearts on her face with the laser. *I’m dying here.* Dae-young comes in and asks him if he’s trying to shoot someone in the head and Si-jin replies that he’s looking for a heart on his very pretty target. Dae-young tells him that the team firearms check has been completed and Si-jin said his firearm is also fine. Dae-young isn’t worried about the firearm, he’s more worried about the fact the shooter is acting strange and Si-jin says he’s not taking any more questions. Woo-geun, who’s transmission name is Harry Potter, tells them over the radio that Yellow Tiger is arriving tomorrow and they freeze. *Is that who I think it is?* Myeong-ju adorably asks Woo-geun who Yellow Tiger is and he informs her that it’s Commander Yoon’s call signal. *Oh boy!*

The following morning, Si-jin tells his men about the Commander’s visit and says they can go about their chores as normally as possible, which obviously means they have to be extra hardworking. The men are working their behinds off, cleaning everything only for Woo-geun to come and inform Si-jin that their visit has been cancelled since the Commander has to meet with the UN General. Si-jin isn’t pleased. Woo-geun says the Commander wants to see Si-jin and Mo-yeon instead.

Myeong-ju steals glances at Dae-young as they wait to welcome Commander Yoon at the airport and he tells her not to worry about him. She says she isn’t and tells him not to worry about her either. Everyone is standing still and Mo-yeon is the only one rocking back and forth on the ball of her feet like a child who can’t stay still. *So cute.* She asks Si-jin what she’s supposed to call Myeong-ju’s father and he replies teasingly that soldier ajhussi would be just fine. Commander Yoon arrives and everyone salutes but Mo-yeon who places her hand on her chest. She tries to unceremoniously move it up into a salute and Si-jin can’t help but smile at her cuteness. He calls the four of them into the office and Myeong-ju glances at Dae-young with worry. In the office, Commander Yoon tells them all to take a seat but only Mo-yeon actually goes to take a seat and when she sees the rest of them standing she hurries back to her standing position. Commander Yoon compliments her on her achievements and says that she would have made a great soldier. She thanks him but says she likes to sleep in *a girl after my own heart* and Commander Yoon says it must be why she’s so pretty. *Not you too.* He tells her he’d like to work with her again then dismisses her and she adorably pokes Si-jin to let him know that she’d be waiting outside.

Commander Yoon asks them if they were injured in the earthquake and when they reply in the negative, he asks Si-jin for the last time if he has absolutely no feelings for Myeong-ju. Myeong-ju is offended on Dae-young’s behalf but Dae-young does a good job of hiding his feelings. Si-jin replies that he’s known Myeong-ju for seven years and while he cherishes her as a soldier and a junior, he has never been attracted to her as a woman. Commander Yoon says he understands and then dismisses Si-jin. He meets up with Mo-yeon outside and she wonders how he’s coming out so quickly since they were supposed to have a serious discussion. He said they did and he was kicked out as soon as it ended. Mo-yeon is surprised and asks if he was kicked out of the army and he replies that he was kicked out of the General’s favour since he’s no longer a candidate for son-in-law. Mo-yeon smiles at that but wonders what will happen with Myeong-ju and Dae-young now and Si-jin replies that the difficult part is up to Dae-young.

In the office, Commander Yoon asks Myeong-ju if she still likes Dae-young after seeing him again and she replies that she does. He asks the same question to Dae-young and Myeong-ju starts to take up for him again when he replies that he does, shocking Myeong-ju and her father. Dad says he thought he and Dae-young were of the same mind and Myeong-ju grabs Dae-young’s arm and tells her father that she’s not leaving Dae-young no matter what his response is. Dae-young removes her hand from his arm and lets it drop, then he takes her hand in his and tells dad that he’s never letting go of Myeong-ju’s hand either. Dad asks him if he thinks he’s qualified to hold her hand and he replies that he’s willing to go wherever he’s dispatched, but he’s not letting go of her. Dad tells Myeong-ju to leave but she refuses so Dae-young calms her and reminds her that he told her not to worry about him so she does. Dad tells Dae-young that all he ever wanted in his military life was to be an honorable commander and to gain the respect of his daughter following in his footsteps but he appears to have failed on both counts. He admits that his orders recently have been unjust and he has also lost the respect of his daughter. He agrees to let them be together but only on the condition that Dae-young quit the army because he will not have a staff sergeant for a son-in-law. *Excuse me, were the words you just said not actual words but farts coming out of your mouth?* He tells him to join Myeong-ju’s mother’s family company and learn the work and gives him until the troops return to Korea to make his decision.

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Mo-yeon stands under the shade of a tree, pondering something while Si-jin pumps gas. He asks her what she’s thinking about and she replies that she can never understand why he never dated Myeong-ju since she’s pretty much perfect and when he replies that you don’t just date someone because they’re good-looking, Mo-yeon huffs, she didn’t mention anything about Myeong-ju being pretty. He wonders if she’s getting jealous and calls her over to come and hold the gas nozzle for him. She takes the nozzle from him and continues talking about how Si-jin should have just dated Myeong-ju when he plants a surprise kiss on her. She asks him what he’s doing when he pulls back and he replies that he’s covering her mouth in a sexy way and dares her to continue talking. She tells him to go away and he kisses her again. *These two! He’s using whatever excuse to kiss her and she’s using whatever excuse to get him to continue doing so. I swear!* She asks him when the gas will be done pumping and he replies that it was done a while ago. He goes to pay and runs into a little boy being chased by the shopkeeper for stealing medicine. Mo-yeon examines the boy and says they need to go to the boy’s village because he might have the Measles and they have to get it under control before it spreads even more.

Dae-young shares the good news of dad granting them permission with Myeong-ju but leaves out the ultimatum. She’s so happy that she bounces up and down like a little girl, then he wonders if something is wrong with her father and leaves to go and call him.

Si-jin and Mo-yeon arrive at the little boy’s village and Si-jin reports back to base, telling to track the village on the GPS. Over at the base, Woo-geun tells Dae-young that they traced the location but the village doesn’t appear on the map. Dae-young tells him to get Daniel since he might know about the village. Mo-yeon and Si-jin try to get information from the children on how long they have been sick but they get no response. The girl from before tells Si-jin and Mo-yeon that the children get no food for three days if they talk to strangers. Si-jin asks if it’s okay for her to be talking to them and she says it doesn’t matter to her anymore. Mo-yeon asks her if she can gather all the children together so she can look at them because if she doesn’t they’ll die from the Measles. The girl replies that it’s better for them to die than to live here. The boys join gangs and the girls are pimped off when they grow up. Today is her turn. She promises to cooperate under the condition that they get her out of the village. Over at base, Dae-young asks Daniel about the village and he replies that it is called the Goblin Village, a place where war orphans live terrible lives. Dae-young reports to Si-jin who’s standing on a hill to receive the call over the phone and adds that the kids are always on the move that’s why it’s called the Goblin Village. While Si-jin is on the phone, he sees Argus arrive in his car and tells Dae-young to speed things up before running to Mo-yeon. Argus walks up to the village and all the kids scatter, Mo-yeon asks him if he is the children’s guardian and tells him that some of the kids have got measles and she needs to take them to the hospital. He comments that she’s too pretty to be doing this *ugh, he’s making my skin crawl* and Si-jin runs in front of her and tells her to stay behind him. She asks him who he is and Si-jin replies, “Private Ryan.” Suddenly, a shot rings out and Argus goes down with a bullet wound to the belly. The girl had shot him and now she runs to Si-jin’s side and begs him to leave with her right now. Argus calls out to Mo-yeon to do something since she’s a doctor and she struggles with herself. She took an oath but Argus is a bad person who will only kill more people if she saves his life. Si-jin tells her to do her job as a doctor and save him and if the need ever arises for Argus to die, he’d do his job and kill him.

Blogger’s Note

The only thing I can say right now is, I love this show. There are no other words needed because Kim Eun-sook is just that awesome. I would love to get my hands on a copy of the script and read it even if it’s in Hangul.