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.
“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?”
“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.
“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.