Jang Sae-hoon is a poor, intelligent and hardworking college student on scholarship with a part-time job at a gas station. Lee Ji-eun is a strong-willed and impulsive girl whose father is the CEO of a textile company. Ji-eun falls in love with and pursues Sae-hoon, despite her family's strong opposition and his own misgivings about their different backgrounds. For fear that her family will succeed in breaking them apart, Ji-eun purposely gets pregnant with Sae-hoon's child so that they would be allowed to get married. After the wedding, spoiled Ji-eun is ill-accustomed to Sae-hoon's shabby living conditions, causing constant fights between the young couple. Ji-eun later suffers a miscarriage, which further drives a wedge between them. After losing the baby, Ji-eun becomes depressed and angry; she still loves her husband but is unable to communicate her feelings. Despite Sae-hoon's efforts to win her back, she shuts him out and allows herself to be convinced by her parents to file for divorce. Heartbroken, Sae-hoon takes the opportunity to leave for the US on a study grant/scholarship so that he can forget her.
Upon hearing that Sae-hoon is planning to leave Korea, Ji-eun speeds to the airport to stop him. Her father drives close behind, hoping to intercept her. At a traffic stop during a red light, her father steps out of his car and tries to catch her attention, but a motorcyclist sideswipes him. Her father dies. Because of the fatal accident, Ji-eun never gets to the airport.
At her father's funeral service, a company executive informs Ji-eun that her father's company has been taken over by rival Seo-Rin Group. Ji-eun's family has lost everything, they have no assets, no money.
10 years later...
In a reversal of fortunes, Ji-eun is now the world-weary breadwinner of her family while Sae-hoon triumphantly returns to Korea as a highly paid executive of Seo-Rin Group. He is engaged to Yoon Mi-ran, a rich, beautiful woman who adores him. Mi-ran is in a wheelchair after being paralyzed waist-down in a car accident the year before which Sae-hoon blames himself for.
While attending a fancy dinner party, Sae-hoon is shocked and disturbed to see Ji-eun as one of the waitresses. At the same party, playboy and Seo-Rin Group heir apparent Seo Jung-min tries to pick up Ji-eun and becomes seriously intrigued after she repeatedly turns him down.
Unaware of the connection, Mi-ran invites her old high school friend Ji-eun to meet her fiancé Sae-hoon. Despite their shock and unease, the exes try to spare Mi-ran's feelings by pretending they'd just met. But Mi-ran eventually finds out the truth about their previous relationship and she becomes wracked by jealousy and insecurity. She had been undergoing months of physical therapy, and during a session, discovers that she can walk again. Afraid that Sae-hoon is still in love with his ex-wife and that he would leave her once he knows that she can walk, Mi-ran conceals the truth from him and lies that she is still crippled, helpless and totally dependent on him, thereby assuring that he's tied to her by the bonds of guilt.
Sae-hoon hires Ji-eun as his housemaid, initially for revenge, but finds he does not have the stomach for it. Instead he discovers the quietly proud, mature and capable woman the trials of life has molded her into and can't help but admire her. Feelings of impotent jealousy also rise to the surface at seeing her being wooed by Seo Jung-min.
In an echo of her single-minded pursuit of Sae-hoon years ago, this time she is the one being relentlessly pursued by Jung-min while she tries to keep him at arm's length because she knows that Jung-min's father would never approve of her as a future daughter-in-law since she is divorced and poor. But despite Ji-eun's objections (and her still-complicated feelings for Sae-hoon), Jung-min proves the depth of his feelings for her and she eventually gives in to her attraction and agrees to become his girlfriend. She grows to care for him and they are happy for a time, and their relationship weathers several storms including Jung-min bitterly finding out that she was married to Sae-hoon.
The more Sae-hoon continues to encounter Ji-eun at work (she is hired as a temp at Seo-Rin Group), the more he falls in love with her and realizes he never really got over her. Though he never acts on his feelings, Mi-ran senses them and manipulates him, Ji-eun and Jung-min. When Sae-hoon finally finds out that Mi-ran can walk and that she has been feeding him so many lies for so long, he breaks up with her for good. Mi-ran snaps and becomes increasingly obsessive and destructive. After countless crazy and vicious acts, Mi-ran commits suicide by swallowing a whole bottle of sleeping pills then calling Sae-hoon and Ji-eun to her side. She dies in Sae-hoon's arms as Ji-eun tearfully looks at what her old friend has become.
It is later revealed that the so-called "accident" that took the life of Ji-eun's father was actually part of a setup masterminded by Jung-min's father. Mr. Seo had wanted to take over the Lee textile business at a very low price, so he arranged a hit-and-run accident that would cause Mr. Lee to stay in the hospital for a few days until the bidding ended (but Mr. Lee ended up dying from his wounds). Their relationship could not recover from such a blow, and Ji-eun breaks up with Jung-min. To save his father, Jung-min kidnaps Ji-eun to force Sae-hoon to give up proof of Mr. Seo's culpability in Mr. Lee's death. But Jung-min later comes to his senses and lets her go, and Mr. Seo is arrested but dies in the hospital before he is convicted. Jung-min then leaves for the US to start over.
Three years later...
Ji-eun is now a successful marketing brand manager, and Sae-hoon has built his own microchip company. They each go separately to Jeju island (where they first consummated their love), and reach the same spot at the same time. They have a serious talk and decide that it is finally "the right time" for them to be together again.
|2004||MBC Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actor||Lee Seo-jin|
|2004||MBC Drama Awards||Top Excellence Award, Actress||Lee Eun-ju|
|2004||MBC Drama Awards||Excellence Award, Actress||Jung Hye-young|
|2004||MBC Drama Awards||Best New Actor||Eric Mun|
|2004||MBC Drama Awards||Popularity Award||Eric Mun|
|2004||MBC Drama Awards||Best Couple Award||Lee Seo-jin and Lee Eun-ju|