Side dish: It’s spring, and if you were in Korea, you could be visiting the Nonsan Strawberry Festival. But since you’re reading this, you’re probably not going, so comfort yourself by making Strawberry SaTang, or “strawberry hard candy”, with this recipe from Aeri’s Kitchen.
Oh Hye Won’s (Kim Hee Ae) housekeeper wonders if the student will be staying with them for a few days. Lee Sun Jae (Yoo Ah In) is the student in question, and he is the piano protégé of Hye Won’s husband, Kang Joon Hyung (Park Hyeok Kwon). Hye Won claims ignorance in a detached tone.
Joon Hyung comes into the bedroom asking for Hye Won’s video of Sun Jae playing, then directs her to fetch wine for him and his student before marching out. Hye Won closes a door behind her and shakes her head at the situation.
Meanwhile, Sun Jae returns to the washroom he just exited to take a whiff of the laundry basket. He decides then and there to wash his clothes himself.
Lounging on the couch, Joon Hyung is watching the video recording his wife made of Sun Jae playing the piano. He laughs in wonder at his unlikely student.
Sun Jae is struggling with socks in the guest bedroom when Hye Won knocks on the door then enters. Sun Jae instantly stands at attention, removing and dropping his sock nervously. Hye Won quietly advises Sun Jae not to drink any wine even if her husband offers. Her fear is that alcohol will loosen Sun Jae’s tongue about their kiss. Sun Jae agrees.
Hye Won directs Sun Jae to join her husband in the piano room as soon as possible, then turns to leave. Sun Jae stops her, hesitantly saying that he has a question. Hye Won redirects him to Joon Hyung who has mapped out a plan for his future, and can answer any questions he may have.
However, what Sun Jae wants to know is why Hye Won was angry on the day they kissed. Hye Won quickly closes the bedroom door, and tightly reminds him of where he is. Sun Jae persists, asking how can she not remember their kiss in her garage.
Hye Won draws closer to Sun Jae, asking if he is a child with no brain to mouth filter. Sun Jae explains that he thought about and practiced his words, because he lacks the vocabulary to express himself properly and clearly. However, he is confused.
Sun Jae recalls that it was Hye Won who advised him to return to playing piano when he hit rock bottom. In doing so, he believes that Hye Won demonstrated an understanding of his pain and this gave him strength. What man would not feel compelled to kiss a woman in that case? Plus, he points out as he ducks his head, she was receptive to his kiss. So, no matter how much it scares him, he cannot erase the memory of their moment of intimacy.
Hye Won’s animosity initially melts away as she listens to Sun Jae, but slowly flares back up as Sun Jae expresses confusion over how she could suddenly claim not to remember their kiss. Sun Jae stumbles over his words as he suggests that her husband is the reason.
Hye Won is in a state of disbelief at Sun Jae’s audacity. Sun Jae apologizes for his blunt speech, but simply wishes Hye Won to be honest with him in spite of her husband. Hye Won cuts him off, telling him that he talks too much, then directs him to come out. Sun Jae looks upset as she turns on her heel and walks out, but follows.
Hye Won leads Sun Jae into the piano room, lightly pointing out to her husband that his clothes fit his student perfectly. Joon Hyung sees it as evidence of their compatibility from the very beginning, when he lent Sun Jae his clothing to help him escape the authorities.
Joon Hyung tries to get Sun Jae to have some wine, while Hye Won smoothly passes him orange juice instead. As Joon Hyung encourages Sun Jae to drink to excess as a rite of passage, Sun Jae looks pointedly at the couple’s wedding bands.
Hye Won shoots back some orange juice then stands up, because she must make a phone call to the Chairman’s wife. Joon Hyung attempts to persuade his wife to have some wine and listen to Sun Jae instead, but settles for ordering her to finish up and return as soon as possible. Hye Won promises nothing. After she leaves, Joon Hyung toasts a disconcerted Sun Jae in celebration of his return. Outside of the piano room, Hye Won leans against a wall for support.
Joon Hyung explains to Sun Jae that everything has been arranged for him: his personal items will be picked up from his workplace, the Dean has agreed to hold a special audition for him, the scholarship will be provided. All Sun Jae needs to focus on is practicing. Sun Jae smiles nervously as Joon Hyung encourages him to make himself at home in his house.
Hye Won is speaking with the Chairman’s wife, Han Sung Sook (Shim Hye Jin) about Sun Jae. Sung Sook is focused on using Sun Jae to protect her from the potential admission corruption scandal. She is also troubled by the admission of the lazy and untalented daughter of the wealthy fortune-teller, Mrs. Baek. She directs Hye Won not to lose Sun Jae again.
Sung Sook then turns to some shady financial dealings taken on the advice of Mrs. Baek. Hye Won steels herself before suggesting they use an account made in her parents’ names rather than follow Mrs. Baek’s advice. Sung Sook agrees and directs Hye Won to take care of the next steps.
Sung Sook asks briefly after Hye Won’s parents before requesting an update on her stepdaughter, Seo Young Woo’s (Kim Hye Eun) return home. Hye Won is tasked with checking what Young Woo has expensed to the Foundation during her shopping trip, and with keeping an eye on the Chairman lest he be convinced by Young Woo to buy something expensive.
Speaking of the Chairman, he arrives home and runs into his wife’s secretary who was busy organizing her boss’s wardrobe. The Chairman quickly becomes creepy and asks the secretary why she is still single. The Chairman assures her that her husband is out there, since she’s still pretty. As soon as the door has closed behind the Chairman, the secretary’s good-natured smile becomes a sneer as she calls his comments borderline sexual harassment. Both she and the maid laugh about the Chairman’s seedy extramarital dalliances.
Sun Jae’s girlfriend, Park Da Mi (Kyung Soo Jin) watches from a distance as their friend, Son Jang Ho (Choi Tae Hwan) places Mrs. Baek’s wayward daughter, Jung Yoo Ra (Jin Bo Ra) in a cab. After the cab drives away, Da Mi comes out of hiding, and Jang Ho gushes about how useful his new girlfriend is, having provided the contact information of the professor who got Sun Jae out of jail.
Hye Won is resting on her couch when she hears her husband’s cell phone sound a series of message alerts. She reads Da Mi’s request to get in touch with Sun Jae, and is reminded of when Da Mi tearfully pleaded for Hye Won’s assistance to get Sun Jae out of jail. Da Mi is not aware of Hye Won’s connection to Sun Jae or Joon Hyung.
Hye Won’s knee jerk reaction is to maintain distance between Da Mi and Sun Jae, and she begins a text claiming that Da Mi has contacted the wrong number. Hye Won stops herself then opts to text Da Mi pretending to be her husband, telling her that Sun Jae is busy. Hye Won shakes her head in disbelief at her actions, and erases her message again.
In the end, Hye Won elects to simply bring Joon Hyung his cell phone, and alert him to Da Mi’s texts. Since Joon Hyung was in the process of fetching another bottle of wine, Hye Won casually asks if Sun Jae is drinking, too, but Joon Hyung says no. Hye Won tells him to drink in moderation as she disappears into her office. Alone in the kitchen, Joon Hyung deletes all of Da Mi’s texts without responding.
Upon returning to the piano room, Joon Hyung encourages Sun Jae to focus on music and not to get messed up with girl trouble. Joon Hyung continues to strategize for Sun Jae as he squirms and looks overwhelmed.
Sung Sook’s order to Hye Won not to lose Sun Jae again echoes in her aching head as she sits in front of her computer. She falls asleep where she works, but is woken up by her husband loudly insisting he is not drunk. Joon Hyung pressures Sun Jae to drink with him next time while Sun Jae respectfully listens. Joon Hyung retires to bed calling for Hye Won, who is not in the bedroom, but pacing in her office.
Sun Jae returns to the piano room to clean up the food and drink, while Hye Won tidies up her desk. She thinks back to Sun Jae’s explanation of why he kissed her, and scoffs at his claim to being a man.
Hye Won peeks out from her office before stepping out and sneaking down the hallway. She is attempting to climb the stairs as quietly as possible when Sun Jae suddenly appears behind her. Hye Won hides her embarrassment by being frantically helpful, asking if he is lost then directing him to his bedroom. Sun Jae barely manages to deny that he is lost before Hye Won asks if he got in touch with his girlfriend. When Sun Jae reacts in confusion, Hye Won tells him about Da Mi’s texts. She directs Sun Jae to contact his girlfriend in the morning then turns to go, but Sun Jae stops her to ask if she would like to hear him play the piano. Hye Won cannot resist, and agrees since, she reminds him, she is his teacher.
Hye Won attempts to exert some authority as they enter the piano room, complimenting Sun Jae for cleaning up, and focusing on Sun Jae’s rusty skills. Sun Jae apologizes for his girlfriend texting Joon Hyung, which Hye Won mildly dismisses before directing him to play the piano. Sun Jae blurts out that he has never slept with Da Mi. That can easily be classified as too much information, and Hye Won coldly treats it as such.
Hye Won walks intimidatingly towards Sun Jae who takes a step back. She asks him why she would have the wrong idea about his relationship with Da Mi, and for what purpose. Sun Jae explains that he thought when the Professor called Hye Won by name and he found out that they share a room… As Sun Jae trails off, Hye Won jumps forward to aggressively kiss Sun Jae. When Hye won pulls away, she breathlessly warns Sun Jae not to mess with her, classifying the violent kissing that she just inflicted as a scolding.
Hye Won tells Sun Jae not to overstep his boundaries, then turns to leave. Sun Jae promptly ignores her threats and encloses her in a back hug. He begs her to just stay and listen to him play. His arms shift to enclose Hye Won in a tighter embrace, and Hye Won does not even attempt to break free. She visibly melts into his arms, and holds his forearm for support.
Sun Jae plays while Hye Won listens on the couch. She is broken out of her reverie by Sun Jae’s sudden insertion of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Hye Won joins Sun Jae at the piano where they appear to be most happy and at ease with each other.
Joon Hyung wakes up to the sounds of the piano downstairs, but simply turns over, satisfied that Sun Jae is practicing as directed.
Hye Won and Sun Jae continue playing together, happier at the piano than they ever are away from it. They finish with a flourish, both laughing with elation as they hug. They are completely at ease with each other as Sun Jae holds Hye Won out to look her over before they hug again.
Sun Jae wants to play some more, but Hye Won gently puts an end to today’s practice. She exits the piano room and the anxiety returns to her face as she climbs the stairs. However, when Hye Won hears Sun Jae continuing to play the piano, she smiles and visibly relaxes in bed.
The next morning, Joon Hyung and Hye Won speculate on whether Sun Jae played all night. It appears that he has, because Sun Jae is still asleep. Joon Hyung directs the housekeeper not to wake Sun Jae up. Joon Hyung is eager to purchase Sun Jae a new outfit for the audition, though Hye Won does not believe that she can participate this afternoon since her crazy boss, Young Woo is back. Before leaving, Joon Hyung tells the housekeeper to hide Sun Jae’s shoes in case he tries to escape, and directs her not to let any of his acquaintances in. The couple then leave in separate cars for work.
Stopped at an intersection in her car, Hye Won spies Da Mi walking towards her house. She lowers the sun visor and watches cautiously, before driving on.
Da Mi successfully finds Joon Hyung and Hye Won’s house. She asks the housekeeper for Sun Jae via the intercom system, identifying herself as his girlfriend. Da Mi has come in person, because Joon Hyung ignored her texts last night.
The housekeeper ends up calling Hye Won, asking what to do since Joon Hyung had directed her not to wake Sun Jae up. Hye Won cringes, closing her eyes briefly, then tells the housekeeper to let Da Mi in, and to make her and Sun Jae a good breakfast if they want it. Before hanging up, Hye Won suddenly asks the housekeeper to leave the bedroom door open lest hormones get the better of the young couple. The request embarrasses Hye Won, and she quickly ends the conversation by claiming that she has an incoming call. Hye Won breathes out in an attempt to ease her anxiety.
The housekeeper leads Da Mi into the home, telling her that she was directed not to wake Sun Jae up. Da Mi reassures her that she just wants to see his face but instead promptly throws her bag at Sun Jae. She curses him out while physically assaulting him for failing to contact her. The housekeeper retreats in dismay, though she leaves the bedroom door open a crack as directed.
Still groggy from sleep, Sun Jae absorbs Da Mi’s blows, before placing her briefly in a head lock. He promises to call her once he gets his phone back, trying to get her to leave. Da Mi accuses him of not caring about her now that he is living in comfort. They tussle in bed before Da Mi resorts to crying. Sun Jae attempts to comfort her while clamping her mouth to quiet her down. The housekeeper is in horror at the commotion while preparing food in the kitchen.
Da Mi reminds Sun Jae of all that they have been through. We are treated to a montage of scenes from the past four episodes, though none of them seem particularly touching nor personal. Da Mi accuses Sun Jae of caring much less about her than she cares for him. The housekeeper interrupts the couple to invite them to eat, and in the next scene, they are busily and silently eating breakfast while the housekeeper walks away, exasperated.
Da Mi notices the mark on Sun Jae’s neck as a result of their fight, and suggests that he tell others that it is a hickey. Sun Jae won’t confirm whether he will be living with Joon Hyung, but Da Mi asks if she can sleep over when she visits. Sun Jae’s eyes widen and he is speechless.
After a meeting discussing profit and concert performances with a subordinate, Hye Won is staring at her phone, weighing whether to call home or not. She is interrupted from her thoughts by her assistant reminding her of her meeting with Young Woo in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, Joon Hyung is boasting to Dean Min (Kim Chang Wan) and rival, Professor Jo (Park Jong Hoon) about Sun Jae playing the piano all night. Hence, the reason he is not present to meet them. Dean Min outlines the easy path that has been prepared for Sun Jae. Professor Jo compliments Sun Jae’s reputed abilities. Dean Min notes that the two rivals appear to be on friendly terms again.
Dean Min takes the opportunity to ask Professor Jo and his supporters to stop stirring up the issue of admission corruption. After all, this is the system that allowed Professor Jo to admit his star pupil, Ji Min Woo (Shin Ji Ho). Joon Hyung is eager to pit his student against Professor Jo’s, then becomes irate when Professor Jo calls it a proxy battle between the teachers. Dean Min and Professor Jo tolerate Joon Hyung’s tirade with condescension.
Out in the parking lot, one of the Foundation’s students is confronting her teacher, because she is desperately trying to reach the dealer who sold a subpar instrument to her. Despite the fact that she had referred the student to the dealer, the teacher refuses to get involved. The student protests about the sound quality of the instrument, and the teacher claims it is because it has not been broken in, yet. The students shouts plaintively as the teacher drives away.
Joon Hyung’s assistant is in the process of packing Sun Jae’s belongings in his trunk when he overhears the student speaking on the phone with her mother about the teacher’s refusal to help. He stops her to ask if the teacher had referred the dealer to her, then encourages her to file a lawsuit rather than quit school. He offers her a ride to give her more advice, but the student seems spooked and turns him down before walking away. The assistant calls the teacher garbage then drives off to drop off Sun Jae’s belongings and pick him up for personal shopping at 4:00.
At the spa that appears to be the favourite of everyone at the Foundation, the same garbage teacher is trying to reassure Mrs. Baek that not everyone is meant for the orchestra, and her daughter need only attend class and she won’t flunk out. Unfortunately, Yoo Ra is not even doing the bare minimum of going to class. Garbage teacher suggests that she would have more control over Yoo Ra’s academic future if Yoo Ra were to change her major to her department.
Yoo Ra arrives at that moment, and when garbage teacher asks why she is here and not at school, Yoo Ra mildly apologizes while her mother laughs at her cheekiness. Mrs. Baek then asks her daughter how she feels about switching from piano to cello, which seems ridiculous at the college level. However, Yoo Ra has no interest in either instrument, and leaves to get her hair done. Mrs. Baek chases Yoo Ra, protesting, but fails to bring her daughter to heel. Mrs. Baek apologizes to garbage teacher then asks how the investments she advised garbage teacher on are doing. The teacher simply tells her to send Yoo Ra to her after speaking with her current instructor, Joon Hyung.
Da Mi is walking past Yoo Ra in the stairwell when the latter places something in the basket that Da Mi is carrying. Da Mi asks Yoo Ra to identify what she just gave her. Yoo Ra walks back, and sticks the object to Da Mi’s forehead, before announcing that it is used chewing gum. Da Mi is clearly used to this rudeness from her wealthy clients, and simply whips the gum off before returning to work.
Sun Jae goes through the belongings that Joon Hyung’s assistant brought back, and finds the book that Hye Won sent him to encourage him to return to piano. He is thoughtful then gets ready to go.
Hye Won is about to enter Young Woo’s office when Sung Sook’s assistant takes her aside to warn her that Young Woo has brought her boyfriend to work, because Sung Sook is not present to keep her in check. Young Woo’s boyfriend boldly greets Hye Won as she comes in. Young Woo outlines a plan to go into business with her boyfriend, and Hye Won is treated to the boyfriend’s business proposal. Hye Won looks away while Young Woo dotes on her boy toy, then she finally interrupts the boyfriend saying that she does not feel comfortable discussing this matter. Young Woo orders Hye Won to write up a formal proposal based on what they tell her, and Hye Won says that she will wait for direction from the Foundation elders. Young Woo takes issue with Hye Won for including her stepmother in that category.
Young Woo’s boyfriend sighs in exasperation while Young Woo shouts at Hye Won for not even having the courtesy to listen to his plan. The boyfriend insolently walks out as Young Woo wavers from ordering him to sit back down to chasing after him, begging him to stay.
Hye Won’s assistant laughs openly with Sung Sook’s assistant about Young Woo’s addiction to her boyfriend. Hye Won, still fuming from her meeting with Young Woo and her boy toy, turns down an opportunity to have drinks to discuss the scandal further. At that moment, Joon Hyung’s assistant calls, and it becomes clear that Hye Won must meet Sun Jae alone.
When Hye Won arrives at the upscale clothing boutique where Sun Jae sits waiting, she notices the wounds from his fight with Da Mi right away, and Sun Jae is honest about the cause, though he claims that they were just happy to see each other. Joon Hyung does not think Sun Jae should have a girlfriend, but Hye Won disagrees, because he will have a distraction from demanding that they do “it” repeatedly. Hye Won belatedly realizes the suggestive nature of her words, and explains to the scandalized ladies nearby that by “it”, she meant piano playing.
As happy as he is playing the piano with Hye Won, Sun Jae has decided that he will be going home today. He does not want his attraction to Hye Won discovered by her husband nor his girlfriend. Hye Won laughs at his admission just as Joon Hyung arrives, but she does not elaborate on what she finds so amusing. Joon Hyung does not dwell on the matter, as he is eager to pick out clothes for Sun Jae.
Sun Jae tries on clothing under the watchful gaze of Hye Won as Joon Hyung dictates what he should try next. Hye Won unwillingly fantasizes about Da Mi rolling around in bed with Sun Jae. Her unbridled imagination is interrupted by Joon Hyung losing his temper as Sun Jae resists trying on any more clothing. Sun Jae informs Joon Hyung that he is going home, and Hye Won supports his right to do as he pleases. Joon Hyung continues to protest as Sun Jae respectfully takes his leave, while Hye Won ignores her husband, lost in her own thoughts.
As soapy as the plot sounds on paper, I have to give the writers credit for consistency, choosing not to change the characters for the sake of a juicier plot line. Though, I suppose the plot is juicy enough.
Sun Jae is gauche, but he is honest about his feelings, and single-minded in what he wants. He will express his feelings to Hye Won, even when he is in the home she shares with her husband. He wants to play piano with Hye Won, and his poor girlfriend is quickly forgotten. When Sun Jae decides that the risk of exposure is too great, he decidedly removes himself from a situation of temptation.
In contrast, Hye Won is all about control, but she is quickly losing it in regards to Sun Jae. Her husband unknowingly creates a volatile situation by bringing Sun Jae into his home, but Hye Won cannot resist being alone with Sun Jae thus creating opportunity for bad behaviour. She is also dishonest to herself and Sun Jae about her feelings, and constantly at war with herself about acting on temptation or being the better person. Hence, her struggle over how to react to Da Mi’s attempts to reach Sun Jae.
About the only time Sun Jae is not awkward, and Hye Won is not anxious is when they are together at the piano. It’s good to see that there is an instance where he’s not a dork and she’s not scheming.
In fact, no one in the show is really likeable, but I am enjoying all of them. Joon Hyung is a insecure child who is thrilled with how his new pet will reflect on him, though he is offended when Professor Jo correctly identifies the competition between them being played out through their star pupils. During the fight between Da Mi and Sun Jae, you can see how it is plausible for the couple to have remained chaste. It is true that Da Mi has been there for Sun Jae, but at every turn, she is desperately trying to hold him back from better opportunities for fear of losing him. About the only character I’m disappointed in is Young Woo, who has not built on the solid foundation of crazy established in the first few episodes; screaming and violence were sorely missing from her boyfriend’s failed business proposal.
Secret Love Affair (밀회)