Lie To Me: A Love Story

The Contract

At the restaurant in the episode 5, time 02:45, Ah-jung shows her genuine surprise at how important the Chairman Chun is to Ki-joon. He doesn’t buy it, “You want me to believe that you didn’t know?” She tells him earnestly, “I (really) didn’t know.”

Sarcastically, “You’re being ga-jung*.” *(Ga-jung (가증) means to be spiteful or despicable)
“Wait, are you insinuating that I schemed my way through all this just to obligate you? No, I wasn’t. I was just…”

Remembering what Sang-hee and she did and perhaps not wanting to get Sang-hee involved, she doesn’t elaborate any further. He’s not so considerate, “I was just, what?”

“Never mind, it was nothing.”
Menacingly, “You had better spill the beans.”
Innocently, “(Spill) what?”
“You have a spy in the hotel, don’t you?”
Cutely she dismisses him, “Oh, never mind. Let’s just write a contract, shall we?”
“A contract?”
“Even if we are going to pretend only for a short time, don’t we have to draw up certain guidelines to go by…”

He interrupts her, “I think you’re terribly confused about something here, because all we are going to do for a short time is to do nothing and say nothing.” She pouts, “You are the one who’s confused. Of course we have to write a contract.” She murmurs sarcastically, “Since when did Korea become a society based on trust? I mean, what are you going to do if I go parade around everywhere saying, I’m Hyun Ki-joon’s wife?”

Squinting his eyes at her, “Didn’t you already do that?” Sheepishly, “I’ve already told you that was a mistake on my part. All the more reason why, to prevent such misunderstanding in the future, don’t you think we should decide exactly what we want from each other in writing? Don’t you think so?” She says the last sentence so sweetly that even a stone-faced Ki-joon can’t think of any objections.

After she asks the table to be cleaned, she writes the contract in a not-so-lady-like handwriting, “I think I’m done. Should I read it?” Not bothering to wait for his answer, she reads it:

Hyun Ki-joon will not, until Yoo So-ran leaves the country, and Gong Ah-jung will not, until Chairman Chun* decides on the investment issue, try to actively explain (to others) the unpleasant misconception of their matrimony. Except for the unavoidable situation concerning Yoo So-ran and Chairman Chun, the two parties will not publicly make known the true nature of their relationship under any circumstances.

*(Chen must be the Chinese pronunciation)

After reading it, she asks him, “Should there be anything else?”
Indifferently, “I think you about covered everything.”
Glad he agrees, “Right? Sign here, please.”

While he signs, she’s curious, “By the way, what should we say if people ask why we are hiding (the fact that we are married)?” Surprised she even asked, “(Of course) we shouldn’t say anything. We are sure to dig ourselves into bigger hole the moment we say anything else.” She begs to differ, “Even so, keeping everything mum may appear strange.”

“It’s not at all strange. If we don’t say anything, people will come up with their own likely explanation. Umm… like my aunt must have objected.” That gets a rise from her, “Wait. Why would your aunt oppose? What does she have against me?”

He raises his voice as well, “You know that’s not the important point here.” Dead serious, “Oh, it’s important.” She has a better idea. “Let’s just say my father opposes.” He scoffs as if this is too ludicrous an argument to be engaged in. She expounds, “Because you fall way below my father’s expectations (of a son-in-law), you know.”

Interpreting his silence as having won that argument, she happily folds the contract. He rapidly finds something else to pick on, “Wait. Shouldn’t I hold on to that contract?” Scoffing loudly, “Don’t make me laugh. Writing contract was my idea. Yours, you’ll have to write it yourself.” She gives him a pen. Cutely, she asks him, “You want me to read it to you?” From her contract. He gives her evil eyes, but he jots down the words she reads.

They walk out of the restaurant, and she is in a bubbly happy mood. She offers her hand for him to shake, “From now on, jahl boo-tahc hae-yo (잘 부탁해요).*” He looks puzzled, “What request? I’ve told you we’re not going to do anything.” Amused and unfazed, “Call me if you have any difficult problems, okay? Bye.”

He yells to her back, “I said, I won’t do anything.” Almost dotingly she tells him, “Okay, I got it.” She gets into a taxi, and rolls down the window, “Bye.” Then, smiling widely, she makes a very cute “call me” gesture with her fingers before taking off. Ki-joon, looking more like a hurricane survivor, takes out the contract and wonders loudly, “What did I just do?”

*(The phrase, 잘 부탁해요, is very commonly used in Korea, but it’s one of those phrases that means somewhat different than its constituent words. Jahl (잘) means well, boo-tahk (부탁) literally means to request or to ask, but as a phrase, it means– Look after me well, as in asking for patience, guidance, and allowance in advance should I make a mistake in the future. It is used commonly in an introductory salutation. A scenario in Kdrama where this phrase is used often is when a person makes an introductory comment to other employees in a new job situation. It’s similar to but not exactly the same as an English phrase, “I’ll be much obliged to you.”)

So Ah-jung says the phrase in a more conventional sense, asking for his support and patience since they are now partners in crime sort of, whereas Ki-joon concentrates only on the word, boo-tahk (부탁) meaning request, which is the reason why Ah-jung gives him a peculiar but amused look.

A Scorned Woman

It is possible, in an attempt to understand Ah-jung’s actions in this next scene, that Ah-jung is just against the concept of adultery even in a sham marriage like theirs, or that she hates for So-ran to think that she’s in an unhappy marriage, but it’s more likely that she has developed more romantic feelings for Ki-joon than she realizes.

After getting embarrassing news from So-ran that her brand new husband, Ki-joon, was seen caressing the cheek of another woman, Ah-jung storms into his office in the episode 5, time 35:35, and looking straight at Ki-joon, “I’m warning you. Don’t even go near a woman!” However, she almost has a heart attack when she notices Chairman Chun sitting on the other sofa and makes a hasty retreat, but an angry Ki-joon grabs her out of the elevator into the stairwell.

He yells at her, “Are you crazy? How can you come here?” She starts to apologize, “I’m sorry. It’s just that I was so angry… Wait. Why are you yelling at me when you’re the one who did wrong?” He yells again, “Do you suffer from Alzheimer’s? Did you forget what you just did?” She yells back, “Are you the kind of man who cannot live an hour without a woman?”

“My friend saw you with another woman.”

He’s so dumbfounded that he temporarily loses ability to speak. “How can you meet another woman, when you’re married to me?” He can’t help but yell yet again, “Who is married to whom?” She doesn’t back down and yells back, “Don’t even look at another woman’s eyes!”

“Miss Gong Ah-jung!”
“Everybody knows you as my husband. I cannot tolerate adultery!” She pushes him out of her way and leaves him fuming.

While Ki-joon wonders what exactly he’s doing with Ah-jung and he even contemplates suing her again, Ah-jung, in her own right, is exasperated and wonders in an elevator about men in general, “For men, adultery must be an instinctive reflex kind of thing. They must just go crazy without it.” Then it occurs to her, and it makes her smile, “Oh, yeah, except for sun-bae (선배).”

Sun-bae is someone with seniority whether it’s in school or occupational setting. She’s referring to her first love, Jae-bum, who, of course, at that very moment walks into the same elevator with his arm around the shoulder of, yup, another woman. Jae-bum is married to Ah-jung’s archenemy, Yoo So-ran.

Seeing a couple hugging and giggling only serves to annoy Ah-jung even more in her presently heightened emotional state, but she does a double take when she realizes who the man is. Jae-bum is even more surprised to see Ah-jung.

Sparks Fly

The shocking spectacle sends Ah-jung into a spiral of depression that she attempts to drown it in cheap booze. In the episode 5, time 43:20, Ki-joon, in a conflicted mental state himself as he remembers Yoon-joo caressing his cheek earlier, gets a call from Ah-jung. Seeing who the caller is, he becomes annoyed, but he answers her, “Hello.”

Sounding somewhat inebriated, but looking mighty happy, she asks in an inviting tone, “What are you doing right now?”
“Have you been… drinking?”
Thrilled that he guessed it right the first time, “Bingo! You want to join me?”
Not at all thrilled, “I can’t think of one good reason.”
Annoyed, “Aaaah! Can’t you just come without asking or analyzing everything?”
Calmly, “Why should I?”
Sweetly, “Because right now, you are my husband.”
He looks at his cell phone as if she’s gone crazy, but he comes to pick her up.

The scene changes to the bar, and she’s happy to see him, “Ah? It’s Mr. Hyun Ki-joon.” She then loudly broadcasts to everyone in the bar, “Hey, everyone! My husband is here.” He grabs her elbow, “Get up.” She tells him to sit down, and she orders more beer.

Ah-jung notices something, “You are not drinking?”
“You realize you are plenty drunk already?”
Smiling sweetly, “Is that why you’re not drinking?”

Something in her eyes makes him take a big swig, and she makes an observation, “So you have something to drink about, too, huh?”
“If your intention is to apologize, then don’t beat around the bush.”
“Apology? What apology?”
“The incident this afternoon?” About her bursting into his office.
“That was due to your fault, so you are the one who should apologize.”
He’s running out of patience. He tells her steely, “Ms. Gong Ah-jung.”
“Why do men cheat?”
Thinking she’s talking about him, he raises his voice, “Who are you saying cheated?”
“Not you. I’m talking about men in general.”

No longer in the spotlight, he relaxes but then it occurs to him, “There’s other man?” She sighs, and he patiently waits, “A little earlier, I saw someone in the hotel cheating on his wife.” Her eyes tear up, “And he’s not even my husband. He’s another woman’s husband. Whether he cheats on his wife or not, it shouldn’t matter to me, so why do I feel like this?”

She wipes her tears. She gets a little embarrassed as tears continue to flow. He no longer looks irritated. As she wipes her tears, she tries to smile through the tears, “I’m being ridiculous, aren’t I?”

Once outside, Ah-jung refuses Ki-joon’s help, telling him she’s perfectly fine. When she runs into a tree and walks wobbly, he mutters under his breath, “Perfectly fine, my derriere.” Well, okay, he didn’t exactly say ‘derriere,’ but he did say something to that effect.

But when he tries to help her, she yells, “You! Don’t ever cheat.” Ki-joon becomes self-conscious of people around them staring, and he tells her softly to keep her voice down. She pounds his chest with her hands and yells some more, “Cheating is a very, very bad thing to do.” Sarcastically, he replies, “And what you’re doing right now is okay?”

While still ranting, she runs into the ongoing traffic, and surprised Ki-joon instinctively grabs her away from the oncoming car and hugs her into his body. The unexpected embrace awakens Ah-jung from her alcohol stupor, but she doesn’t try to break out of his hug. She just becomes self-conscious, and sensing her tension, he asks her while still embracing her, “Are you okay?” When she doesn’t answer, he asks her again, “Miss Gong Ah-jung?” That’s when she throws up all over his immaculate business suit, not once but twice.

While he’s trying to get out of the clothes that are soaked to his T-shirt in a restroom, Ah-jung wakes up from the alcohol slumber in the backseat of his car and is appalled when she begins to remember the gory details. She stumbles out of his car and promptly runs into a steel post, when she hears his voice, “Are you trying to run away?”

Not realizing that her mascara and lip sticks are smeared all over her face, she bravely stands up to him, “Why should I?” After an uncomfortable pause, she tells him, “Oh, my. Look at the time. Excuse me.”

She goes into a convenience store to buy a remedy for hangover, but as she’s walking out, she catches her reflection in the mirror. Horrified at the spectacle staring at her, she cries, “Ah! What is this? Who are you?”

After making herself more presentable, Ah-jung walks along the cherry blossom lane and sits on a wooden bench situated right underneath one of the cherry blossom trees shedding blossoms like snowflakes when Ki-joon appears out of nowhere and sits next to her. Surprised, she asks him, “You didn’t leave?”

“If I sent you home alone and something had happened to you…”
“Like what?”
“It’s not like I worried about you a lot, but if something did happen to you, I would be the prime suspect.”
She smiles, “I feel so much safer* already.” *(Dun-dun hah-dah (든든하다) means feeling secure, safe, reassured by instilling confidence)
Shivering and cracking a smile all at once, “Just think of it as my cursed good manner.”

“Are you cold?” Smiling and poking a finger into his arm, “You must be frailer than you look.” He reminds her, “That’s because thanks to someone we know, I’m wearing wet clothes.” Suddenly contrite, “I am really sorry.” “Of course you should be sorry.” He peeks at her enjoying the falling blossoms and can’t help smiling at her innocence, “Do you still like that guy?”

“Who?” “That guy who cheats on his wife.” She becomes quiet because she didn’t think he knew. “You still like him. Isn’t that the reason why you’re hurting?” “It’s not because I still like him. It’s because I’m upset.” That surprises him because he didn’t expect that answer. “Being disappointed in a person, that’s not a great feeling. I know most people change, be it for better or for worse. But he was my first love. Is it too much to ask for him to stay debonair like the way I remember him?”

“No. That hurts just as much.” Meaning remembering his first love still hurts even though she didn’t cheat and is still very attractive. Ah-jung is puzzled, but she doesn’t pry lest she opens his wound more.

The cheery blossoms begin to fall more earnestly, and feeling more comfortable with each other they enjoy the scenery now more openly. They smile more readily, and they seem to have no qualms about looking at each other while smiling. But as they continue to look at each other, their smiles slowly disappear, replaced instead by sheer desire in their eyes.

Ki-joon sees the smoldering in her eyes and can no longer resist the open invitation of her red succulent lips. As if pulled by a magnet, Ki-joon’s lips gravitate toward that of Ah-jung’s in an apparently inevitable collision course as we hear Ah-jung’s inner voice, As of today, my emotional attachment to my first love has officially ended.

But at the last minute, they both come to senses and spend their pent-up energy instead on brushing and blowing blossoms away from their hair and clothes. It was just as well because Ah-jung’s head had moved only about two millimeters over the entire endeavor, so in order for the kiss to occur in any enjoyable manner, Ki-joon had to move his head in a humanly impossible degree of pure contortion from the angle he was approaching.

As much of a fond memory they must have of the emergency room, I’m pretty sure they had no intention of celebrating their new found love back there again. Besides, they must have learned so much from this experience, because their kissing expertise including their approach angles have all improved drastically in their subsequent lip collisions, as you will soon see.

The Contract Addendum

But just as most delectable temptation is usually followed by moments of regret, Ki-joon is no exception. However, his regret quickly turns into a moot point when Ah-jung shows no intention of holding Ki-joon hostage for his temporary but unbridled rapture in the episode 5, time 54:44.

Grumbling that she’s ordering him to come and go at her whim, Ki-joon nevertheless shows up at the coffee house promptly when she asks him with an early morning wakeup call. Expecting her to be a clinging vine, he tries to distance himself from the get-go by sitting sideways and acting aloof, and his suspicion appears to be confirmed when she effervescently offers him macaroon cookies and coffee, all at her treat.

Certain now that he’s seeing right through her act, he chuckles sardonically murmuring to himself, “I can’t believe this.” He looks her in the eyes, “Miss Gong Ah-jung. I think you’ve got this figured all wrong. You see, last night, I was just going along with the mood…”

She interrupts him by pounding the table with her fork, “You’ve thought I was going to let you get away with it, didn’t you? Really.” As in – what do you take me for – kind of tone. She pulls the contract out of her bag, “Put an addendum that until the contract period is over, you will be careful not to be seen with another woman.”

He gives her a dumbfounded look, and she mistakes his expression. Smiling sweetly, “Okay. I’ll try to be careful, too.” He asks her, slowly, “You wanted to see me because of this?”

“Why? Is there something else besides this (you wanted to discuss with me)?” He can’t believe that he misjudged her so badly, and seeing him being catatonic, she becomes impatient. Putting a pen in his hand personally, she orders him to write pronto.

But as he’s about to get in his car to leave, she throws him a curveball, “Mr. Hyun Ki-joon!” When he looks back at her, she tells him with a smile, “Don’t worry. I tend to forget everything I do while drunk.”

She just told him that while she’s not going to take advantage of him, she certainly didn’t forget what happened between them at the cherry blossom lane.

A Showoff

Pushed to a corner again by Yoo So-ran, Ah-jung asks Ki-joon in the episode 6, time 01:07, if she could “borrow” his house for a housewarming party to celebrate their newly wedded life. Ever so accommodating, he asks her, “Why should I?” Ever so sweetly, she responds, “Because we are married.” Now he gets irritated, “Miss Gong Ah-jung!”

Still sweetly, “I promise I won’t bother you.” “You are plenty bothersome right now.” Making a small space with her two fingers, “I promise not to make even a tiny blemish anywhere. I’ll cleanup everything afterward. You won’t have to worry about a thing.”

Feeling hopeful from his momentary silence, she sits next to him and suggestively nudges his shoulder with hers, “You don’t even have to worry about attending the party, either.” She looks at him with her eyes full of hope, and he dashes it all, “Don’t want to.” Crushed, she cries, “But why?”

He suddenly gets up and walks away, “Did you forget that we are supposed to be doing nothing? Housewarming is not in our agreement.” She follows him, “Since when does life always unfold according to an agreement? There are such things as extenuating circumstances, you know.” She starts her argument full of fire but under his steely glare, the last few words become no more than a mere whimper. Coolly, he tells her, “That’s not my concern.”

She resorts to female wiles. She seductively strokes his hand and while pulling on each fingers, “You sure you won’t change your mind? It feels refreshing, doesn’t it?” He brushes her hand away roughly, eliciting a disappointed but cute “Ow” from her. Curtly he tells her, “It’s late. I think you should leave.”

Unlike brusque older brother, the younger Hyun tries his best to help Ah-jung, coming up first with a plan to use his aunt’s house when conveniently she plans to be elsewhere that day. Thinking she has a foolproof plan, Ah-jung ambushes Ki-joon while he’s jogging in the episode 6, time 08:45.

An irate Ki-joon demands to know, “How did you know I was here?” Not about to tell him it was his very own secretary’s doing, she puts on a devil-may-care attitude, “It’s not like it’s a top secret or anything.”

“I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no intention of lending you my house.” Nodding nonchalantly, “Uh-huh. Whatever suits your fancy. I don’t need your stuffy house. No thanks to you, I’ve found a solution.” Surprised, “How?”

“What does it matter to you? It’s not like it’s your problem.”
“Then why did you come here?”
Smiling, “I came to tell you this.”

She speaks in a lower form of language, no longer smiling, “Don’t live your life like that. I can’t stand a guy who’s a showoff* with his house.” Back to elevated form of language, “I will most likely not see you ever again. Good-bye.” She bows deep sarcastically and jauntily saunters away.

*(Yoo-sae ddun-da (유세 떤다) is very commonly used. Yoo-sae (유세) means power or influence and ddun-da (떤다) means to wield it for show. So it means: showoff the power of, and in his case, showoff his power via his house)

But we see that she didn’t really mean that part about never seeing him again. In the episode 6, time 11:52, Ah-jung walks along the cherry blossom lane and seeing “their” bench, she reminisces about their almost kiss bringing a blushing smile to her radiant face.

In the episode 6, time 15:50, Ki-joon’s secretary gives him a low-down on Ah-jung, “Just so that she can confess her feelings to her first love, she studied her hearts out to pass the bar exam, but her friend was already dating him. Don’t you really feel sorry for Miss Gong Ah-jung?” “Sorry for what? She just got her pride bruised a little is all.”

His secretary suddenly becomes wise and soft-hearted, “I think that’s how women’s pride works. No matter what happens in this world, they don’t want to lose. I think I understand how Miss Gong Ah-jung feels at least a little bit.” Amused, his boss asks him, “How do you know so much about her?”

“I’ve told you before. I’m a first-degree relative with Miss Gong Ah-jung.” He means he feels a kinship with her. “A first-degree relative?” Looking at him askew, “Exactly whose secretary are you?” Smiling sheepishly, “This is all thanks to you.” Because Ki-joon ordered him to find out everything about her. Suddenly, he worries about her, “I wonder what she’s going to do about the housewarming. If I could, I would lend her my own house.”

I think it’s this kind of affectionate feelings Ah-jung seems to arouse from other people that becomes the seed of Ki-joon’s love for Ah-jung.

Speaking of seeds, Ki-joon starts to feel the pangs of guilt that Ah-jung planted in his conscience in the episode 6, time 18:35, because at home, looking at the lavish layout of his living room, he’s reminded of her admonition, Don’t live your life like that. I can’t stand a guy who’s a showoff with his house.

He mutters under his breath, “Who said I was showing off.”

The guilt weighs heavily on Ki-joon, and he calls Ah-jung in the episode 6, time 18:50, with an intention to tell her that she could use his house for the party, but he runs into his brother and Ah-jung. Ki-joon mistakenly thinks that Ah-jung has used his brother to get close to him, and later Sang-hee tries to convince him otherwise.

Ah-jung comes to Ki-joon’s house in desperation but can’t quite bring herself to ring the bell. After a moment of tortured indecision, she abruptly yells to the house (and to him in it, I’m sure), “I’m not going to do it! No way!” And then she walks away.

The Secretary Park, getting out of a taxi, sees her leaving and tells Ki-joon that he saw Ah-jung near the house in the episode 6, time 26:45. Ki-joon lightens up at the news, “You sure?” That it was her. “Yes, sir. Hum… I wonder why she just left without coming in.”

After the secretary leaves, Ki-joon text messages Ah-jung: Housewarming party preparation is going well? Ah-jung thinks Ki-joon is teasing her, and she gets all riled up, “What is this? He’s doing this on purpose, isn’t he? Ah! Is he trying to pick a fight with me or what? Ah, see*.” *See (시) – an exclamation of displeasure.

Clueless of the effect his text message has on Ah-jung, Ki-joon awaits impatiently for her response hardly paying attention to the book he’s supposedly reading. He grumbles under his breath, “What could she be doing (that’s so important) for her not to answer me back?” He sighs deeply but still waits.

At that very moment, Ah-jung texts him back, her message dripping with sarcasm, Why the (sudden) interest, hung*! *Hung (흥) is not what some of you may think. It’s a sound you make when the other person’s behavior is disgustingly annoying or if you want to mock, sneer, or scoff at someone. It’s supposed to be the sound of nose blowing.

Seeing her text message, he calls and tells her that they should meet. It’s funny when Ah-jung’s solution to find a house for housewarming is to ask the real estate lady if she could live in this upscale condo for a day as a trial before deciding to buy it, sort of like trying out a sample cosmetics before buying the whole set. Of course, the lady looks at Ah-jung and Ki-joon like they are lunatics and kicks them both out of the condo.

In the episode 6, time 34:20, they are sitting on a bench outside. Ah-jung just sighs deeply, while Ki-joon just fans the fire. He asks her, not sounding all that sympathetic, “What are you going to do now?” About housewarming without a house in sight.

Ah-jung starts to ask Ki-joon something, most likely mustering up courage to ask him again to lend his house, but she changes her mind, “It’s nothing.” Knowing what his answer would be, she probably wasn’t going to sell short her self-pride again.

Knowing exactly what she wanted to ask him, and greatly enjoying her discomfort, he makes a grand gesture, “No, tell me what’s on your mind.” Not looking at him, “No, I have nothing to say.” “I’m pretty sure you do.” Have something to say. Raising her voice but then catching herself, “I’ve told you I have nothing (to say)…”

Smiling smugly, “Do you think now the house is worth showing off?” He’s referring to her accusation that he was a showoff with his house.
Not amused, “What did you say?”
Self-contented, “No. Don’t mind me. I’ve just heard it somewhere.”
Not about to be outsmarted, she tells him confidently, “Don’t worry, because I have a plan.”
His smugness disappearing, “What plan?” Exuding confidence, “The last-ditch plan.”
“The last-ditch plan?”
“What is that?”
Looking at him incredulously, “How can I tell you that when it’s the last-ditch plan?” She then leaves him theatrically, while he wonders what her last ditch plan could be.

But she becomes despondent when she’s told by a hypnotist that using hypnotism to change someone’s mind is illegal. In the meantime, having nightmares about Ah-jung and Sung-hee setting fire to his house and waking up gasping for air from the imaginary smoke, Ki-joon comes to a conclusion that living in fear like this is not worth it.

In the episode 6, time 41:40, Ki-joon tells Ah-jung that he will lend his house, but “only for one day.”

Gratefully, “One day is quite enough.”
Sternly, “I will not be involved in any housewarming process.”
Reassuringly, “I don’t expect you to at all.”
“And if something happens to the house, I’ll expect to be reimbursed for the repair cost.”
Enthusiastically, “I will think of it as my own house.” She catches herself, “Ah, I meant I’ll be careful with the house.”

Reluctantly, he gives her the house secret code device, “Chun-sah*.” Puzzled, “Chun-sah?” Looking at her as if to say, are you sure you’ve passed the bar exam, “(It’s) the secret number.” Taking the device from him and smiling, “Ah! The secret number. One thousand four. That’s easy (to remember).”

He abruptly leaves her, and happy and giddy Ah-jung calls him, “Mr. Hyun Ki-joon! You won’t regret this.” Dryly, “I’m regretting it already.” She pouts cutely, but recovers quickly to wave goodbye to him.

*(The word, chun-sah (천사), means angel, but it is also the number 1004 – chun means 1,000, and sah means four. Alternatively, 1004 can be pronounced, il-chun sah, which means one-thousand four, or as Ah-jung does, you can spell out each number, il-gong-oh-sah**, instead of thousand-four as done here, but it’s a cute wordplay and a double entendre, because when he says the number, he’s really calling her ‘my angel.’)

**(il-gong-oh-sah (일공오사): il means one, gong means zero, oh in Korean means five, but in English it’s an alphabet ‘o,’ and sah means four. So Ah-jung is using Konglish.)

The Ice Cream Kiss

In the episode 6, time 48:00, Ah-jung marvels at her culinary work and the whole ambiance, “Ah, this is perfect. Just perfect! It’s too bad there is no husband in the picture, but it’s okay. Everything can’t turn out the way you want.” (She actually says, ‘Everything can’t be perfect.’ But using a same word thrice within one minute time span is against the grammar fashion law, so I did a variation of the Rolling Stone song, You can’t always get what you want)

Exactly at that moment, someone rings the bell, and Ah-jung thinks the guests are starting to arrive. But it’s Ki-joon, who decides to come here instead of accepting a cozy dinner-for-two invitation from Yoon-joo.

Completely taken back, Ah-jung stammers, “Why are you here?” Trying not to show the awkwardness, but nevertheless showing it, “What do you mean why? This is my house.” And then he stiffly passes still shocked Ah-jung.

While Ah-jung’s friends ogle at first Ki-joon and then drool over Ah-jung’s fake wardrobe, handbags, and shoes, Ki-joon whispers to Ah-jung, “I see that you have prepared meticulously. It’s Sang-hee’s doing, isn’t it?”

Leaning toward him while stroking his shoulder, she whispers to his ear, “I’ll clean them all up later.” Gritting his teeth while pretending to smile, he whispers back, “You had better.” She tries to soften his stinging words by nervous laughing, but ends up sounding like a happy giggle as if he said something sweet for her ears only.

Ah-jung’s friends think they are being lovey-dovey, and one teases them, “To be that publicly affectionate is against the rule, you know.” I guess, the unspoken Korean cultural mores that it’s considered uncouth to flaunt your romantic happiness in public.

The one other friend chides the two friends that they are breaking the rule, because the etiquette dictates that they should pretend not to notice them being lovey. Both Ah-jung and Ki-joon pretend to be appropriately chagrined, while So-ran becomes inappropriately green with envy.

While the guests are admiring the house and its contents, Ki-joon comes up to Ah-jung who’s busy getting food ready, “Want me to help you?” Ah-jung’s expression is priceless: It’s part trepidation and part surprise. “Why?”

Genuinely surprised, “What do you mean, why? I’m your husband.” Whispering, “Don’t do that. You’re scaring me.” He just smiles at her, smugly. She turns her back to her friends to lessen the likelihood that her voice will be overheard, “What are you doing?”

“(I’m) acting. This is a stage, and I’m a pretty good actor.” He then calls everyone for dinner.

During dinner, Ki-joon “confesses” that he doesn’t like to see Ah-jung’s hands get wet, as in doing dishes, laundry, etc., and her friends squeal in delight. Ah-jung is emotionally confused, because part of her finds his perfect host persona uncomfortable and yet strangely appealing.

Ki-joon finds out over the meal that Ah-jung prepared the food all by herself, that she is a very good cook, an info provided by a guy who jilted her by the way, and that her mother passed away when she was in third grade. After the mother news, Ki-joon, who has been looking here and there at Ah-jung in a meaningful way, now looks at her with empathy, admiration, and… adoration. Empathy and admiration is understandable since he also had to grow up parentless, but adoration part is becoming more noticeable. Ah-jung feels his stare and becomes uneasy and yet charged at the same time.

Ah-jung tries to calm her “inexplicably” charged nerves in the bathroom, but as she comes out Jae-bum grabs her back into the bathroom and asks her to keep his indiscretion a secret from his wife. She agrees to keep mum, and as they come out of the bathroom together, they run into a stony-faced, obviously jealous “husband.” Cracking a forced smile, Ki-joon calls Ah-jung tenderly, “Yuh-bo. Everyone’s waiting,” while grabbing her wrist to lead her away from Jae-bum.

As everyone sits on the sofa after the dinner with awkward silence looming over them, Jae-bum suggests that the host, Ki-joon, sings karaoke to liven up the party. Ah-jung’s friends and even Jae-bum’s wife think that’s a bad idea, and Ah-jung sort of begs Jae-bum to be “merciful.” Jae-bum nods understandably, “Ah. I see. He can’t sing, huh?” And then he laughs half-mockingly but not maliciously.

Ki-joon’s manly pride is nevertheless hurt, but it’s Ah-jung who comes to his rescue, “Singing. Yes! Singing is good. Where there is singing, there is Gong Ah-jung. I’ll sing.” She bounces up to the stage, and everybody claps.

Jae-bum gets a silent earful from his wife, when Ki-joon gets up, “Let’s sing together.” After an initial shock and silence, everybody claps, but Ah-jung worriedly whispers to Ki-joon, “You sure you can do this?” He ignores her question, “Pick a song.” She shows him, “I picked out this song.”

“Isn’t this too oldie?” He takes the control, “What about this song?” “Oh, I know this one.” She worries anxiously for him, “But maybe you should think this over.” About his singing. He tells her pointedly, “Enjoy it while you can.” I think he means while this charade lasts. A Cad.

The song, Loving Ice Cream, recorded originally by As One and Easy Life, croons about the similarities between the experience of eating ice cream and being in love. When Ah-jung, looking so adorable, sings this part of the song:

As I see your previously icy cold heart melting, I feel your love for me.
Speak to me about your ‘Oh, so beautiful’ love.
Spend every day together with me. Come… (closer to me)

…Ki-joon looks at her with so much love on his face that Ah-jung stops singing. It is as if he’s in a different world, and he only has eyes for her. She looks at him at first quizzically, then with embarrassment, and she tries to defuse the sexual tension in the air by playfully hitting him, doing her best to shake him out of the trance.

But Ki-joon can no longer hold the love he feels for her reined in, and as the microphone he was holding drops with a thud on the wooden floor, he grasps her shoulders, and without an ounce of hesitation, goes straight for her lips. The stunned audience can only look with fascination, embarrassment, and envy, as Ah-jung also succumbs to her inner passion and matches his ardor by melting her lips to his.

In the beginning of the episode 7, Ah-jung and Ki-joon’s lips finally part slowly and reluctantly, and they look at each other’s eyes trying to find answers for their impetuous behavior, but their private intimate moment is interrupted by a door bell rung by his aunt.

In the episode 7, time 08:40, while being cooped up in Ki-joon’s closet hiding from his aunt, Ah-jung imagines while dozing off that he comes in surreptitiously after all the guests have left and gives her a soft kiss on her cheek while telling her, “Because you looked so adorable.”

He Lies, too

Ah-jung is beginning to fall for Ki-joon just as hard as he for her, so she takes it hard when he tells her that he was just acting when she asks her why he kissed her. In the episode 7, time 10:50, he initially hesitates when asked, and it’s hard to tell if he knows his feelings but is afraid to tell her or he’s just not fully aware of his own feelings.

Distraught Ah-jung gets up and walks out. Chasing after her, Ki-joon grabs her. She yells at him, “Who told you to act? They are my friends. If anyone’s going to lie to them, it’ll be me.” And once outside the gate, she feels free to express the pain of what she thinks is unrequited love as tears roll down her cheek, “An act. Huh! Even the kiss was an act? Such a jerk. Hyun Ki-joon, you’re a jerk.”

As she tears more, she mutters sarcastically, “Jal-lot-da*.” *(Jal-lot-da (잘났다) means handsome, smart, or superior, but when spoken sarcastically, it means exactly the opposite as in deficient, inferior, or ‘he must think he’s the world’s gift to women’ kind of thing)

The next morning, looking at the plate containing the very wine glasses Ah-jung left unattended when she hastily made her exit last night, Ki-joon tells his maid not to touch them, better yet to leave everything the way they are. In fact, he tells her to take a few days off. The man with a plan.

Ki-joon calls Ah-jung, and he gets a chilly response from her, “What is it?” Undaunted, he tells her, “When are you going to return my house to its original state?” Meaning when is she going to clean up all the mess from last night.

“Didn’t you promise to clean up completely afterward?”
She sighs, “That’s all you have to say?”
“No. Until you clean up everything in the house, all your things in the house are confiscated.”
Yelling, “Okay! I’ll do it! I’ll do it, right now!”

She hangs up, and even though she’s riled up and has plenty of work still unfinished, she still tends to her hair, albeit briefly.

In the episode 7, time 21:30, as Ki-joon relaxes on the sofa reading, Ah-jung is busy bustling about cleaning up everything. He even snaps his finger for her to pick up a wayward cherry tomato she missed on the coffee table. She gives him a scathing look, but she does what he wants. When she’s ready to vacuum, he tells her that he doesn’t like vacuum cleaners. The noise, I’m assuming.

She tells him, “Then go in.” To his room. Not even looking up from his book, “Don’t want to.” Frustrated, she takes the vacuum cleaner away, and seeing her go he smiles ever so faintly.

As she’s wiping the leather sofa that he’s sitting on with a rag, he nonchalantly asks her, “Why were you so upset yesterday?” Giving him evil eyes, “You really don’t know?”

“I can’t imagine, even though I thought about it hard and long.”
“You kissed me, without my permission.”

The way she says and looks at him, it occurs to him in passing, “Was that your first kiss by any chance?” To make such a big deal about the kiss, he means. When she doesn’t say anything, he looks up from his book with a surprised look on his face, “That really was your first kiss?”

Now embarrassed, she denies it, “Of course not.” He doesn’t believe a word of it, “How can you not have kissed even once at your age?” She protests loudly, “I’ve told you it was not.” Shaking his head in disbelief but unable to hide a growing smile, “I thought your kiss was somewhat amateurish.” Yelling, “Are you having fun? Is teasing me so much fun for you?”

She gets up, throws the rag on the sofa, and in the process of leaving runs right into his legs. She tries to push his legs away while telling him to move, but he grabs her wrist and pulls her down next to him. Surprised by his action, she looks at him bewildered. Still pretending to read the book, he tells her, “It wasn’t an act.”

What he said registers in her brain, and her expression softens. He closes the book and turns to look at her earnestly, “I was lying when I said I was acting.” She looks at him with her big, vulnerable, trusting eyes, and he puts his left arm around the sofa behind her and leans closer, “I pretended it was an act, but it wasn’t.”

Slowly but clearly, she asks him, “If it wasn’t an act, then what was it?” As if this is the first time he actually thought about it, he mutters almost to himself, “I don’t know. What was it?” “Don’t ask me. You are the one who kissed me.”

He doesn’t say anything and just stares at her, looking as if he wants to find out by kissing her again. Feeling uncomfortable, she haltingly asks him, “What’s the matter?” They are interrupted at this point by his brother, Sang-hee.

In the episode 7, time 25:45, Ah-jung is in bed thinking about Ki-joon’s words that his kiss was not an act, and she touches her heart to make sure it’s not going to jump right out of her chest. Then thinking about the words some more, she suddenly gets embarrassed and pulls the blanket over her head while squealing in delight. Elsewhere at the same time, Ki-joon relives the part where Ah-jung asks him what the kiss was if it wasn’t an act. He asks himself the same question, “If it wasn’t an act, then what was it?”

At this point in their relationship, as is with most other things in life, the woman realizes the state of her heart earlier than the man. He has fallen in love, but he doesn’t yet know it on a conscious level.

In the episode 7, time 29:00, Ah-jung asks a fellow woman worker, “If a normally serious person suddenly acts goofy, what does that mean? Like calling to say, come clean up the house, or coming all the way to my house for a trivial reason. He would normally never do such things.”

Smiling knowingly, the woman tells her, “He must like you.” Scoffing, “That’s impossible. No, that can’t be. No, I don’t think so.” Then Ah-jung sheepishly looks at the woman and denies some more, while the woman smiles fondly and tells her to eat slowly. Ah-jung, blushing, still can’t believe the possibility, “Do you really think he likes me? No, it can’t be.”

The Good-luck Pen

It’s a cute scene in the episode 7, time 32:00, when Ah-jung at work can’t seem to focus on her work. She keeps staring at her cell phone. She finally grabs the phone and starts to type text messages to him: What are you doing after work? She then erases a part of the message.

“No. Too obvious?” *(Show tee (티) means through certain facial expression or subtle behavior you reveal your true nature or feelings)

If you’re not doing anything after work…
“No. Oh, what am I doing?” She erases some more.
Do you have time after work?

She doesn’t like that either, and after a few seconds of mulling, she decides to just call him. Ki-joon answers her in his spacious closet, “What is it?”

“Where are you?” Taking off his watch, “Does that really matter?” “Did you by any chance get home already?” That gets his attention, “Why?” She’s thinking fast on her feet as she’s looking at a pen she’s holding in her hand, “Ah… Can you find my pen?” “A pen?”

“To me, that’s a very important keepsake. You know, like a good luck pen. I think I must have dropped it there. So I think you have to find it for me. So I think we have to meet again.” She’s babbling, and she knows it, so she gets self-conscious and her voice becomes almost inaudible toward the end.

Looking around his closet, he mutters, “Where is she saying she dropped the pen?” Then it occurs to him, “Wait.” Realizing that she’s just making up excuses to see him again, he just smiles.

Decked out in an elegant and yet simple ensemble, but definitely overdressed by far for a simple transaction of a pen, she awaits him in, of all places, a movie theater. When she sees him, she’s all smiles as she waves with both arms, “Oh, Mr. Hyun Ki-joon!”

Stony-faced, he stands in front of her. She, all bubbly, asks him, “Did you bring it?” He looks around as if he’s embarrassed to be seen in a movie theater holding a bunch of pens. He holds up a hand full of pens, “Which one is it?” She doesn’t hesitate. She picks out a pen with World Hotel logo on, “This is it. My good luck pen.”

He looks at her without saying anything. He’s probably thinking, Should I pick up that pen she made fall on the floor? She thankfully distracts him with her sweet smile, “If I don’t have this pen, nothing seems to go right, you know.”

“I’m happy for you, to find something that important. Then…” He starts to leave. She grabs him frantically as her high stiletto heel shoes make loud clicking noises against the linoleum floor, “Wait! You can’t leave now.”

“I thought you wanted me to bring you the pen.”
“I’m just so grateful to you. I’ll treat you to a movie.”

He hesitates, and taking that as consent, she grabs his arm and literally drags him, promising him a movie treat, the same one Ki-joon watched with his secretary, Jane Eyre. Well, at least his hand gets to brush hers inadvertently in the same popcorn bucket. He smiles amusingly when she withdraws her hand abashedly.

Walking out of the theater, Ki-joon announces to Ah-jung, “You have to buy drinks, too.” She stops walking and looks at him. He suavely tells her, “For such an important pen, don’t tell me you thought a movie was a sufficient reward?” She smiles warmly and enthusiastically volunteers, “I’ll buy!”

In a bar, as he refills his drink and hers, too, Ki-joon asks her, “Any siblings?” Smiling, “I don’t have any. It’s me and my dad, just the two of us. Since when did you want to be a hotel president?”

“I’m not sure. I can’t seem to remember exactly when I wanted to.”
“Are you then forcing yourself to do something you don’t really want to do?”
“It’s not like that. I just thought it was natural that I become one. And as long as I’m doing it, I wanted to do a good job.”

She smiles, “Chahk-hah-nae*.” *(The phrase ‘You are chahk-hah-nae’ (착하내) or chahk-hah-dah (착하다) is used when a person’s behavior or thinking is righteous, good, and cheerful. It’s typically used to describe the behavior of a child or someone younger than you, as in ‘you’re a good boy.’ That’s why he looks at her the way he does and why she looks at him somewhat sheepishly)

He changes the subject, “Why did you wanted to be a civil servant?” Reflectively, “Hum… why did I wanted to become a civil servant? In the beginning, I’ve had assorted reasons why, but when I think about it now, I think it was because I wanted to test myself against a big established organization (like the Ministry). The organization is in essence our government, you know. So, I threw myself against the public office, and I am in the process of testing myself.”

Sarcastically, “I didn’t know you had such a grandiose reason. You know that you don’t have much sin-bi-sung,* right?” *(Sin-bi-sung (신비성) is the quality of being mysteriously or magically fascinating and different. He is essentially saying her reason for being a civil servant is mundane)

Offended, “Why? What’s wrong with me?” “If you don’t know, I guess that’s just the way it is.” This is a typical saying, and it has some ‘You are who you are,’ kind of connotation, although I think he speaks more in tongue-in-cheek fashion, here.

She pouts a little, but she perks right up, “Don’t you get lonely living alone?”
“No.” Very talkative tonight, isn’t he?
“You like girl groups, too?” As in singing group, I guess.
He gives her a look that says, ‘Be serious.’

She gets playfully vengeful for being a stick-in-the-mud, “You like yuh-ja*?” *(Yuh-ja (여자) is female, as opposed to nahm-ja (남자) which is male or a man) When he scoffs at her, she teases him, “You must like men.” But she sheepishly corrects his gender orientation, “Of course you like women.”

She wants to know more, “Ah, then, one secret you don’t want others to know?”
“Why do you ask me to reveal something I don’t want others to know.” Because she wants to get to know you better, Bub.
“Oh, is that how it goes? Okay, then the next question.”
“Miniature models.”

He goes onto express his chagrin that at his age, he likes things like that, but that doesn’t seem to bother her. She gets excited and wants him to show them to her, but when he gives her that look again, she tells him maybe next time when an opportunity arises. Quite a stuffy character, this Ki-joon guy.

They are walking along their cherry blossom lane when Ki-joon notices Ah-jung’s expression change. He follows her gaze onto the very bench where they had their almost first kiss. She gets self-conscious and flustered, “Thanks for taking me home. Bye. Thanks for the pen.” And she hurriedly leaves. Ki-joon smiles somewhat ironically, “The rice cake giver wasn’t even thinking about it.”*

*(Rice cake is a common snack in Korea, and there is a common phrase, 이계원 떡이냐, which literally means ‘where did this rice cake come from,’ which is used to convey a surprise that something good came to a person unexpectedly, by pure luck, or without costing anything. So, the rice cake Ki-joon is referring to is a kiss, and he’s saying that the giver, meaning he, wasn’t even thinking about kissing her, thus she didn’t have to be all shy about it.)

But Ki-joon finds her innocence and bashfulness cute.

The Food Poisoning

Ki-joon is slowly changing as evidenced by the episode 7, time 38:45. While in the midst of a corporate meeting, Ki-joon gets a text message from Ah-jung, What are you having for lunch? He promptly ignores the message and places his cell phone back in his jacket pocket, as he has always done with a call during meetings, according to Manager Park. But after a few seconds, he excuses himself, takes the cell phone out, and sends her a brief text response, I’m in a meeting.

Ah-jung says cutely, “In a meeting? Oh, you poor man. You’re missing lunch.”

In the episode 7, time 43:00, Yoon-joo tells Ki-joon that she wants to resume where they left off 3 years ago. She reasons that since they had to part because of Sang-hee, and since now Sang-hee seems to be okay with their seeing each other, there is no reason for them not to see each other. Ki-joon cannot bring himself to tell Yoon-joo the truth.

In the episode 7, time 55:25, feeling stressed about Yoon-joo and Sang-hee, Ki-joon comes home exhausted mentally and also physically after taking his frustration and anger on a small racket (squash) ball. Looking for food in the refrigerator, he finds Ah-jung’s yellow sticky note on a leftover plate containing sushi or cold cuts, and it reads:

President Hyun Ki-joon – !! Thanks for lending me your house. Having a secret husband is dun-dun-hae*. I’ve put the leftovers in the refrigerator. For one or two days, they should be fine. Don’t ggal-ggum-ddul** and enjoy. Gong Ah-jung.

*(Dun-dun hah-dah (든든하다) means feeling secure, safe, or reassured)

**(GGal-ggum-ha-da (깔끔하다) means being meticulous, neat, and clean in appearance or in action. She’s telling him not to be too squeamish or uptight about eating leftovers. The expression is not very “formal” and by using it, she’s not only being cute but also showing that she feels comfortable and close to him)

And it’s significant to note that in his difficult and tiring times, he trusts her and in fact appears to find comfort in eating the food she made, although he doesn’t realize that the food is more than “one or two days” old.

The Chairman Chun and his wife sent Ah-jung a beautiful gold pendant necklace and ear ring set studded with diamonds, but not feeling right about accepting the gift, Ah-jung calls on Ki-joon to return it in the episode 7, time 57:35 when he collapses on her at his doorstep due to food poisoning.

The doctor who makes a house call tells Ah-jung that he has food poisoning but he also appears to have weak immune system perhaps due to stress. He recommends plenty of rest and proper nutrition. Ah-jung calls her father to tell him that she has to nurse overnight a friend who became sick after eating the food she made.

Looking over sleeping Ki-joon, Ah-jung tells him, “Why did you eat that? You should’ve thrown it out.” She nurses him all night at his side and also works on her project. She falls asleep next to him on his bed, holding the IV cord like it was her lifeline. When she awakens the next morning, she finds that he still has fever. After putting a cold towel on his forehead, she tells him, “I’m sorry. (It’s) all because of me.” She begins to get up off the bed when he suddenly grabs her wrist.

Sizzling Sparks

In the beginning of the episode 8, Ki-joon asks Ah-jung, “What happened?”

“The doctor said it’s due to chronic stress and food poisoning.” Sitting back down on the bed, she chides him without being able to look him in the eyes, “How can you pass out over food poisoning, making me min-mang*?” *(Min-mang (민망) means to make one feel embarrassed or feel guilty)

Ki-joon asks her again, “I mean why are you here?” She stammers, “Well, I did call Sang-hee and Secretary Park… I was going to call them, but I didn’t.” He looks at her thoughtfully. She tries to explain, “I just wanted to be by your side.” “Why?”

She’s able to look at him now, “Because it’s my fault you got sick.” He looks at her accusingly, “At least you know.” That it’s her fault. He tries to get up from the bed, and she asks him why he’s getting up. He tells her that he has to go to work. She raises her voice, “What do you mean work? The doctor said for you to rest.”

Ignoring her, he starts to call someone on his cell phone. She snatches the phone from him, and he protests, “What are you doing?” She cutely glances up at him a couple of times while busy text messaging on his phone and then darts out of the room. He wants to chase after her, but he realizes he has IV in his arm.

Secretary Park gets a text message from supposedly Ki-joon: I’m taking today off. I’m with a woman. Don’t disturb me.

Ah-jung returns to the bedroom smiling contently; she grabs his hand and smacks his cell phone on his palm, and tells him, “I’ll make you some porridge.” Giving her a, what’s got into you, look, “I’m not that hungry.” Oh-so-cutely, “Be patient. I’ll make it delicious.” Still not exactly sure about all this, he looks at the cell phone screen, and he frowns, “A woman?”

Ah-jung brings the porridge on a plate and places it in front of him. Smiling happily, she pronounces the arrival of her life-sustaining porridge, “Voila.” Holding his phone, he wants to know, “There is a woman?” Teasingly, “So why didn’t you listen to me?” She smiles sweetly to take the sting out of her words.

Looking at the plate, “Porridge? You want me to die (again)?” From food poisoning. Giving him the evil eyes, “Ah. The way you talk…” Then she gives him a sweet, wifely instruction, “Without spilling, after chewing thoroughly, eat all of it, okay?” Looking nonplussed, “Whom are you talking to (like that) right now?” Oh-so-adoringly, she says “Umm” while pointing to him with her chin. And then she smiles winningly at him before she realizes she’s late for work.

She frantically picks up all her stuff, but before she leaves, she tells him happily, “Even though they don’t taste good, eat all of it, okay?” She makes a hand phone gesture to her ear, “I’ll call you.” And then she leaves like a hurricane, and he seems somewhat shell shocked.

Ah-jung pauses on the steps of his house, looks back at the house, and smiles tentatively but contently, while back in the house, he looks at the porridge with a bit of trepidation, but he tries a spoonful. He seems surprised how good it tastes.

In the episode 8, time 05:00, Ah-jung is worried about him. She text messages him, Do you feel any better? Obviously he’s feeling pretty darn good, because we see him doing sit-ups on his sofa. Ki-joon receives her text. He smiles at her message, but once he thinks about how to respond, he frowns.

He types, I’m okay, but he says it to himself with a question mark. Then he erases it, and types, I’m not okay, but he again says it questioningly. Well, I think I’m feeling somewhat better, but… But he doesn’t like that message either, so he just gives up and puts the phone down on the coffee table.

See, that’s the difference between a man and a woman. When things get too complicated for men, we just give up, whereas women… call. To talk. And talk. And talk. And this is me… being trampled on by women… into oblivion…

Worried about him, Ah-jung skips lunch and rushes back to his house, where she runs into Ki-joon coming back from a stroll because he was feeling the cabin fever. When she asks him why he hasn’t returned her text message, he nonchalantly tells her that he forgot. She, obviously hurt, asks him if he thought about her worrying. It doesn’t matter to him whether she worries or not, she asks him.

He contemplates, “Should it matter to me?” Her lips are quivering with anger. He asks her, “Why should it matter to us?” Sarcastically, she tells him, “Oh, yeah. That’s right. We don’t mean anything to each other. I must’ve been mistaken. I’m sorry for bothering you.”

She starts to walk away, and he tries to stop her, “That’s not what I meant.” He meant the questions as rhetorical, but she takes them literally. But despite his protest, she storms into her car, fuming, “He doesn’t deserve my concern. I’ll never come near this house again.” Throwing a glare in his direction, she backs up her car. He wonders why she’s going backwards and also if it should matter to him – whether she worries about him or not.

Ki-joon doesn’t have time to worry about Ah-jung because the Chairman Chun’s wife’s mother (jang-mo*) passed away and they are at this very moment leaving, obviously without signing their deal. Manager Park advises him not to go to see them, because they might “misunderstand.” *(Jang-mo (장모) is a wife’s mother)

Ki-joon, however, decides on that very course of action. He looks at the time on his cell phone, 07:55 PM, which means he doesn’t have that much time before their flight at 10:15 PM. He calls Ah-jung, who’s beside herself with worry of her own because Jae-bum may have overheard her telling her father that she’s not really married to Ki-joon, in the episode 7, time 12:55.

Ki-joon gets right to the point, “I need your help.” She doesn’t say anything, and he yells into the phone, “Miss Gong Ah-jung?” She barks at him, “Help you with what? And why should I? Didn’t you say we don’t mean anything to each other?” Ignoring her, he tells her urgently, “I’ll be in front of your house. I’ll be there in 10 minutes.” And he hangs up, and she looks at the phone incredulously.
She throws the phone on the floor, “Ah! He always does whatever he feels like. You can wait all you want. (See if I come out)” Her father gives us the best quote of the year, “The fake couple does boo-boo ssah-oom*, too?” *(Boo-boo (부부) is a married couple, and ssah-oom (싸움) is altercation, thus a fight between a married couple)

He parks his Mercedes Benz in front of her house and anxiously waits. He finally decides to walk up to her house, when Ah-jung comes into the picture. He can hear her talking to herself as she’s walking down, “You are one big bah-bo*, Gong Ah-jung,” and he smiles faintly at that.

*(Bah-bo means dumb, but generally, although it depends on the context, it has the least severe and some affectionate connotation compared to words like stupid, imbecile, idiotic, and moronic. That’s because bah-bo (바보) also may be short for 바라볼수록 보고싶은 , which means ‘The more I look, the more I long (for you).’)

In the car, Ah-jung asks Ki-joon if he’s trying to hold the Chairman couple back so that he can hope to sign the contract, and he tells her it’s just to say goodbye to them. “I’ve heard you became close to them. You may never see them again, so I just want you to say farewell to them.” “Without trying to convince them? You said the contract was very important.” He doesn’t say anything.

In the airport, Ah-jung comforts the Chairman’s wife the way only Gong Ah-jung can because it comes from her heart, and the Chairman is so moved by the gesture that he agrees to sign the contract and send it to Ki-joon. The Chairman, as he leaves, tells Ki-joon that Ah-jung is “really a good woman.”

Ki-joon drops Ah-jung off at her place, and as she tells him bye and starts to walk away, he tells her, “(You know,) I was going to send you a text message.” She stops and turns around and looks at him quizzically.

“I didn’t know what to write exactly. If I said I wasn’t well, I thought you might worry. If I said I was fine, I was worried you might not come.”
Smiling faintly, “(You mean) you waited for me?”
“Well… I didn’t wait that long.”
Smiling more widely, “That’s the same thing.”
Embarrassed, “I think people behave strangely when they are sick.”

She gives him a certain look, and he tries to cover his embarrassment, “That’s what people say.”
With a slight teasing hint to her tone, “Mr. Hyun Ki-joon’s behaving slightly strange right now, you know.”

“That’s because I still haven’t completely recovered yet.”
Smiling affectionately and good-naturedly, “Okay, if you insist.”

He turns to leaves then he turns around, “Ah… Thank you… for everything.” Pleased to hear him acknowledging, “I didn’t help you that much… compared to how much you’ve helped me all this time.” Straight-faced, he concurs, “I think so, too.” She seems to find that part of him cute, too, because she smiles. He tells her to go in, which is a Korean way of saying good-bye, and she tells him likewise.

As he’s about to open the car door, she call him, “Mr. Hyun Ki-joon!” When he turns to look at her, she demurely tells him, “I was happy that you called for my help.” He just stares at her, and she, feeling abashed, smiles, turns, and starts to run. After a few steps, she stumbles a little, and feeling even more embarrassed, she looks back at him in a mixture of embarrassment, defiance, and cuteness all rolled into one expression before deciding to walk rather than run, at least temporarily. He must also think she is the cat’s meow, because he can’t stop his smile from growing into downright goofy proportion.

Ki-joon, the next morning, is in an extremely good mood, and I don’t think it’s all because of the promised signed contract. He tells Manager Park about the contract and how Gong Ah-jung helped. Manager Park smiles and tells him, “It seems that it’s beneficial to have a wife at times.” Ki-joon looks at her, not really sure if she’s being earnest or teasing him.

The Cola Kiss

I think Ah-jung and her archenemy, So-ran, are getting a tad closer. So-ran gives Ah-jung Yoon-joo’s address and tells her to make sure Yoon-joo knows exactly where she stands. But seeing how beautiful Yoon-joo is, Ah-jung gets depressed and tries to drown her sorrow in so-ju and beer concoction. Her co-workers put drink-sodden Ah-jung in a taxi, and the taxi driver asks her where she’s going.

Ah-jung instead sniffs the taxi air, “Ah! The alcohol smell. Ah-jeo-see, how can you drink and drive? I’m a civil servant. You’d be in big trouble if you get caught by me. Uh? I spoke ban-mal*. I’m sorry.” And then she keels over onto the backseat and sleeps. *(Ban-mal is lower form of language)

Ah-jung wakes up on Ki-joon’s bed lying sideways, and the glimpses of what happened last night come back to her. She remembers taking off her makeup (not really), taking off her shirt, T-shirt, and skirt (really), and crawling under a big blanket to sleep. And then she remembers what happened in the taxi.

The taxi driver asks her where she’s going. Ah-jung gets up from the back seat, “Did you call me?” When she just mutters under her breath, he asks her if she has any contact person. She brightens at that, “(Yes,) I do. A husband. My husband.” And she remembers giving him Ki-joon’s address.

After she gets dressed, she tries to sneak out of his house in the episode 8, time 31:06, but Ki-joon comes out of nowhere and asks her in his booming voice, “Are you trying to run away?” Abashedly, she tells him, “Last night, I’m afraid I may have done some sil-lae*.” *(Sil-lae (실례) means inappropriate words or behavior. This word is often used to ask for someone’s forgiveness)

Glibly, “You do sil-lae all the time, anyway.” She doesn’t say anything, and he smiles, “It was a joke. Did I hurt your feelings?” The old Ki-joon would’ve never asked her that, so I think it’s safe to say that he’s completely and utterly in love. He’s done for, fini, game over.

“Oh, no. You’re right about that anyway.” Suddenly it occurs to her, “The taxi cost. It was a lot, wasn’t it?” She starts to take out some cash from her pocketbook. He doesn’t like it, “What are you doing?”

“I’m going to put it over here.”
He’s puzzled, “Did I make some kind of a mistake?”
With difficulty, “I’m just embarrassed.”

He asks her, “Do you remember any of it?” She gives him a blank look. He acts floored, “You don’t remember?” Scared to ask, “What? Did something happen?” He acts like he can’t believe she can’t remember, “Ah. That’s okay. It’s water under the bridge, anyway.”

Getting anxious, “What did I do?” “It was nothing.” He starts to walk away. She chases after him and raises her voice, “I said, what did I do? Did I make some kind of a mistake? What? Oh, I can’t stand this.” Seeing how he nonchalantly drinks a bottled water out of the refrigerator, she yells at him, “Mr. Hyun Ki-joon!”

Smiling mischievously, “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
Relieved and confounded at the same time, “What?”
“I was just kidding.”
Yelling earnestly now, “Kidding? How can you kid about something like that? Ah, you scared the living daylights out of me.”
Smiling proudly at her, “Now you sound like Miss Gong Ah-jung that I know.”

Feeling sheepish and upset at him, she tells him to move out of the way so that she can drink right out the large plastic cola bottle. He tells her, “You should be thankful to me.” She looks at him quizzically. “If you had ridden a taxi in this appearance, what do you think would’ve happened?”

Getting slightly self-conscious, “Why (do you say that)?” Confidingly, “You haven’t looked in the mirror (lately), have you?” Now totally self-conscious, she puts the coke bottle on the countertop and goes to the bathroom.

He smiles fondly at her direction, but when he looks at the Coke bottle, his expression changes. A glint of mischief flashes briefly in his eyes, and he walks toward it and slowly picks up the bottle. And then like a possessed maniac, he starts to do, for the lack of a better word, the Coke Dance, to and fro, up and down, around and around, and from side to side. It was only for a few seconds, but it was thorough and sufficient. And as if the violent spell has been broken, he becomes normal again, and he sets the bottle down next to him while he stands oh-so innocently by its side.

She comes out of the bathroom pretending that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, “Huh. I looked fine.” Giving him a mild crossed look, she opens the Coke bottle, and all the pent-up carbonates spew out in geyser fashion celebrating their freedom in the rarefied air onto her hair and clothes. She screams in shock and falls down on the floor, while he erupts in exhilarating cacophony of unbridled laughing fits.

Her shock turning into a dare, she stops his laughter cold when she causes the remaining carbonates to spew onto his face. A total melee ensues as they chase each other around the kitchen until they run out of ammunition and energy. They collapse upon each other in laughter until they realize the position they find themselves in – a close cola-drenched body embrace.

Their breathing suddenly becomes harder and coarser than before, and they slowly look at each other’s eyes, both seeing the undeniable passion there. He slowly but surely closes in, but at the last moment she pulls back. He looks at her quizzically, and she asks him with her heart showing in her eyes, “Is it an act or for real?”

He looks at her with equal passion in his eyes, he tells her, “For real.” He doesn’t wait too long before he dives in, and she matches his intensity with her own.

After they finally part, their lips hover close to each other as if parting is already a sorrow. He looks happier than he has ever looked in his life, but he can’t help teasing her, “It must be nice… to get your second kiss.” Getting a rise out of her as he expected, “I’ve told you it’s not my second.”

He laughs affectionately, and while smiling he just looks at her with love showing in his eyes. She impulsively grabs his face and initiates the kiss this time… on her tiptoes. Afterward, she smiles contently and happily at him, while pointing out the salient quality of his kiss, “It tastes sweet.” With those pithy words, she’d make a great spokeswoman for Coke.

He smiles warmly at her, and she becomes somewhat shy again, when his cell phone rings. It’s his aunt, and it’s touching to see him grabbing her hand just to go from here to there, as if he doesn’t want to part with her even for that long. But I think it may also be symbolic that he will stand by her when and if his aunt or anyone else opposes Ah-jung.

Continue reading >>> Page 3: Despair and True Love

144 thoughts on “Lie To Me: A Love Story

  1. Hi Michael – Thanks again for your informative post! Hope you don’t mind two more burning questions on Korean culture:

    1. Why do Koreans rub their hands together when deeply sorry? Is this hand gestures only made towards elders?

    2. What is the meaning of touching the tip of the tongue with one’s fingers then the nose?

    I have seen th above gestures in so many kdramas and really curious about their meaning!

    Many tks!

    • I’ve always thought rubbing hands together was a universal portrayal of begging, be it begging for mercy or forgiveness, etc, but I guess that gesture must be unique to Korean culture.

      The saliva on your nose from your tongue gesture – I’m not positive about this one, but I think this is done as a subjective palliative response to pain or discomfort. If you can you give me the episode number and time when this gesture occurs, I can double check it. Thanks.

      • sorry to chime in. I also thought that rubbing hands to together was a universal sign for begging. in my culture that is the gesture for begging.

        • Don’t be; you can “chime in” whenever you feel like it.

          I was just watching the second episode of “Protect the Boss,” and when the lead guy tells the lead gal to go and get the facial bruise caused by his father’s slap checked in a hospital, she holds the compensation envelope given to her by his father away from him while telling him that she can just put “saliva” on it as she touches her tongue with her finger and dabs on her wound with the finger. So, Koreans must think of saliva as some kind of salve or antibacterial ointment, and they are not completely off the mark as saliva has some anti-bacterial function among other protective and digestive functions.

          But if not directly on the wound, why put saliva on the nose? Maybe nose is a representive organ if the pain is internal. Your guess is as good as mine. 🙂

  2. Clasping the hands together in a forward and backward motion is a gesture of begging (also of praying) in my culture, but not the rubbing of hands though which I have only seen in k-dramas (eg during the Solar eclipse in Jumong, the fearful Buyeo citizens went down on their knees and made this gesture) which madee wonder whether this only happens in dramas or also in real life.

    As for the dabbing tongue-nose repeatedly with fingers gesture, yes I think this could be a palliative response to pain or discomfort or maybe to test whether one is in a dream or awake akin to pinching? I don’t think this gesture was made in LTM but I have seen other actors (usually female leads) do this in other dramas which I though was such a cute and curious gesture!

  3. michael you are one romantic writer you, you made my heart beat faster.i already love KJH and YEH a lot but your writings makes me clamoring for more.thank you so much for bringing LTM more closer to our hearts and the two actors that played AJ and KJ more vividly romantic in our eyes..
    thank you,

  4. Thanks Michael for this lengthy write up of LTM.
    It took me like a week to finish reading it, cos I was savouring every word you wrote and going back to re-watch some scenes as you provide your insight and the mightly helpful Korean culture explanation ^_^

    I got a few questions in my mind and hope you could explain it to me.

    1) Sorry in Korean is 미안해 but how come when I listen to K-dramas, it always sounded like “B-IANNE”? Is it because there is no “M” sound in Korean, and so sounded like “B” verbally?
    2) As per (1), 네 sounds like “de” and 누구 sounds like “dugu” for the same reason where there is no “N” sound in Korean?
    3) In Ep 12, 34:01, when Ki-Joon drinks the soju in front of Ah-Jung’s father, he turned his head side-ways first. So is the turning side-way to drink a polite thing (norm) to do when you are drinking in front of your senior in Korea?
    4) In Ep 16, 24:34, Ki Joon said “don’t you trust obbo” I have never heard obbo before. Is it a more intimate way of saying oppa and only used in a love relationship?

    Many thanks!!!

    • Thank you, fatonna.

      Regarding your questions,
      1 & 2) There are “M” and “N” sounds in Korean. It’s possible that the actors and actress speak so fast that they may sound somewhat different or distorted somehow. If you can give me specific examples, maybe I can verify them for you.
      3) Yes, in front of an elder or a superior, it’s a good manner to turn your head 90 degrees to drink.
      4) The “oppa” that everyone’s used to is really pronounced “obba.” It’s similar to the “Americanization” of certain Korean sounds such as common Korean names like Park and Kim, because they are really pronounced “Bak” and “Gim,” just like Ki-joon is really pronounced “Gi-joon.”

      Hope that helped. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m only a few typed words away.

      • Thanks for your explanation, Michael, you are very kind! ^^

        I heard that for some Korean pronounciation, when saying the first word, it may also include the first letter sound of the second character, so as to smooth out the pronounciation. So for the “obbo” that I heard in Ep16, 24:34 instead of “obba”, I wonder is it because the whole sentence is “obbo bommido”, so Ki Joon needs to change the “ba” sound to “bo” as the next word starts with “b”?

        For the other sounds that I have doubt, I have found some examples from LTM:

        Ep 12 52:03 Ki Joon said “bianhae”
        Ep 15 47:03 Ah Jung said “dugu” mam deru
        Ep 16 11:44 Park Hoon said “de” (may be this is not the best example as his voice is quite soft, I am also watching Coffee Prince Shop No. 1 and I heard the kid said “de” in Ep 2 11:40)

        I also have another question, in LTM Ep14 20:24 So Ran commented that if Ah Jung got fired, she may even have difficulty to get married. Is it a serious matter for civil servant in Korea to be fired? Because no company will hire a civil servant who has been fired?

        Many thanks again! ^o^

        • You’re absolutely right about the first sound borrowing from the next letter, but that usually happens within a word, not within a sentence. What I’ve heard in the ep. 16, 24:34 sounded like this: “Obba mot-mi-duh?” – “You don’t trust this oppa?”

          In ep. 12, 52:03, it sounds like Ki-joon’s going to say something with “b” sound, but he does say, “Mi-ahn-hae,” not “bi-ahn-hae.”
          In ep 15, 47:03, Ah-jung does start with “d” sound as if she has some other choice words for Ki-joon, but she settles for “Noo-goo-ma-um-dae-ro.”
          In the ep. 16, 11:44, Park Hoon says, “Nae,” not “de.”
          In Coffee Prince, ep 2, 11:25 and then again in 11:29, each time a kid says, “Nae.”

          The phenomenon where what you’ve initially heard is different than what was actually said happens to me fairly frequently which always seems to occur either at a pivotal point or at a punch line if you will. That’s what takes the most time for me when I translate. Since I came to the U.S. when I was 12 years old, relying on hearing without a script to translate is difficult sometimes. For example, in the Secret Garden when Hyun Bin was chasing Ha Ji-won around in his library, I couldn’t at first understand the last thing he said to her as she was chasing him around the table. So I must have listened at least 20 times before it came to me. At a time like that, I try to relax as much as I can, get all the preconceived notion of what the sentence should be out of my head, and just concentrate on listening. And when it finally comes to me, I usually say to myself because what I initially heard is so different than the actual sentence, ‘That’s so obvious, why didn’t I hear that the first time.’

          So it’s entirely possible the reason that what you’re hearing may be radically different than the actual sound may be similar to my above experience.

          Regarding the civil servant issue, I’m not positive about this, but I don’t think it’s any different than being fired from any other job if the reason you got fired is because you lied and used female wiles to get ahead (I think that was the prevailing charge or accusation. It’s been a while, so my memory gets a little hazy).

          • Michael, thank you so much for taking time to re-watch the scenes to clarify my doubts for me! ^^

            And thanks for sharing your personal experience as a native korean speaker, hehehe, its really encouraging. You are right, sound recorded may not be what was actually said =P

  5. Michael, thank you for taking time to write the love story that is Lie to Me. I chanced upon LTM when this was shown in the Philippines and somehow, I did not realize but i was drawn to this drama. I have watched it several time, nay, 20 times so much so that i have memorized their lines (at least the eng sub). Not content with this, i searched for the BTS, OST and blogs on LTM just to get my fill. I have watched other K-dramas before but something else drew me to LTM. Is it the story? The sizzling chemistry of YEH and KJH? It is both. I agree with a previous blog by Thundie that LTM should be taken for what it is – a love story. And it was an amazing love story made more unforgettable by YEH and KJH. It makes one wander through memory lane and fall in love again just like AJ and KJ. While most K-dramas would end with the OTP professing their love for each other, LTM ventures into whats in store for them as they struggle and triumph over their journey to eternal love:) The chemistry between the 2 leads is electrifying (kisses were so HOT and they were acting so naturally) that one can only wish that they will actually fall in love for real. I hope that they will be given another project soon with a much better script. YEH and KJH deserve it:)

    • Thank you, nenette, for sharing your love for one of my most beloved Kdramas. Combination of my being busy and my inability to find another drama that I could lose myself over has kept me away from my home away from home. Hopefully that’ll change soon. Thanks again.

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