Everybody flocks to the hospital to see Little Top, including his alleged mother, Amy. The child gets a few gentle scolds here and there but the air of relief is visible in the hospital room.
Amy fumes that the kindergarten teachers weren’t doing their job, their negligence almost cost a child his life. Xiaoqian launches into a series of apologies — Amanda’s call breaks the tension. Wanting some privacy, Amy instructs the adults to leave and waits until everyone has left the room to hand Little Top the phone. Speaking to the receiver, the boy chirps merrily, “Mommy!”
Stepping out of the hospital room, Ma Xiaoqian grudgingly thanks Xia Hejie for his help with saving Little Top. The cheeky writer laughs and corrects Xiaoqian, “I should thank you,” he says, “Your clumsy mistake helped me cross over from entertainment news to headline news.” The reply certainly sends Xiaoqian’s eyes rolling but what astonishes her more isn’t even the unabashed shamelessness, it’s the narcissism. Between a bleeding hand and a few strands of hair gone astray, Xia Hejie cares about more about his looks.
Now here comes Day 2, Revenge of the Child Saver, AKA Xia Hejie. He has arrived as savior of the kindergarten and requests that Ma Xiaoqian invites him for dinner as a token of gratitude for his heroic act yesterday. Why such an absurd request? It couldn’t be a cheap plot device to throw the main characters together in a romantic setting could it? – I don’t really mind if it is. – The reason, as Xia Hejie explains, is that he has never been rejected by a woman before and it bruised his ego when Ma Xiaoqian cast off his peace offer the other day. To make up for ruining his impeccable record of no rejections, she has to take him out for dinner. And it’s not just any restaurant, she has to elevate herself to match his expensive taste. That means flowers, candles, and a small make over.
In the meantime, Little Top’s mother visits him in the hospital. Overwhelmed by worry and guilt, the model Amanda promises her child that from now on, she will do better as a mother and try to stay by his side as much as possible.
The dinner date isn’t set at an exceptionally posh restaurant but it’s high end enough to make Xiaoqian uncomfortable. Xia Hejie registers Xiaoqian’s discomfort and doesn’t hesitate to point out that her shoes don’t match her bag, her bag doesn’t match her clothes, and her clothes don’t match her hair. Although nothing matches but together, they amplify her unassuming character and end up suiting her well. It’s one of those rare but honest compliments that slowly work its way to dissolve Xiaoqian’s animosity towards Hejie.
He ventures on to teach Xiaoqian how to taste wine. Facing the close proximity and the rapidly growing dinner bill, Xiaoqian is a ball of nerves. She explains hastily that she’s only brought 2,300 TWD with her. Pushing the money to Xia Hejie’s side, she adds apologetically, “I know this isn’t enough to cover the meal expense but that’s all I have for the time being. How about this, I will delete the photo I took of your Sponge Bob underwear. Will that be enough?”
Amused, Xia Hejie waits until Xiaoqian is finished to say that he wasn’t planning to let a girl pay for dinner.
The very same night, Amanda is sitting at home watching the news. Clip of Xia Hejie carrying Little Top to the ER comes on, Amanda watches intently. As the news segment comes to a wrap, the model sinks into deep thoughts. The bell rings, disrupting her pensive moment.
She comes to the door, another delivery man. This time it’s a beautifully wrapped box.
She unwraps the gift to reveal a smaller box inside, just as prettily wrapped. After four layers of unwrapping, each smaller than the last, she uncovers a key.
After an awkward and sorely uncomfortable dinner, our playboy takes his date to the roof top to enjoy the fireworks. Watching the specks of light fizzle against the backdrop of night, Xia Hejie exclaims that the same city looks significantly different under different conditions – much like that of humans.
Xiaoqian disagrees, romantic dinner or not, Xia Hejie is still the same sycophantic self. Not the least bit offended, Xia Hejie has his own take on the matter. “For every quality, there coexists a virtue and a vice. Am I boisterous or just imposing? Invective or quick witted? Arrogant or confident?” Xiaoqian listens to Xia Hejie’s self-justification impassively, until he says, “I don’t care how the world sees me; I only care what my loved ones think of me.”
Xiaoqian softens and admits that seeing Xia Hejie rushing Little Top to the hospital did change her impression of him – just as he leans in, uncomfortably close. She tenses and waits for his next move. But he raises a hand and gently wipes the smudged eyeliner off the corner of her eye. What lady, were you expecting a kiss?
If the almost-kiss is a tease, then Xiaoqian’s reaction certainly attests to Xia Hejie’s charm and he knows it. Encouraged, he wraps a hand around Xiaoqian’s waist and coos in her ear, “Stay, stay with me tonight.”
No spoilers there, she agrees.
Once in the hotel room, indecision creeps upon Xiaoqian. While debating how she should get out of this hole she dug herself into, she does something curious and amusing.
She peeks at Xia Hejie in the shower! Blatant fan service but I dare say, with Xia Hejie’s confidence, he’d be happy to supply Xiaoqian with a full frontal view. 😀
But she’s nervous and ducks before she can get a good look. So when she’s caught red-handed hovering in front of his shower, it’s both embarrassing and comical.
How does the rest of the night play out?
Xiaoqian walks out wearing a man’s dress shirt and a pair of silver heels. She kicks off the heels and climbs into bed where she positions herself atop Xia Hejie. Much amused, he waits for her to make the moves. Happy to oblige, she bends over and kisses his chin. He raises his head to kiss her lips then but she pulls away slightly and puts a finger on his lips. A moment later, she pulls back and smiles at him meaningfully with a tie in hand.
He lets her tie his hands up with a I-didn’t-know-you’re-into-this look but little does he know what she has up her sleeves next. With a huge grin, she brings out a garden scissor. “Today,” she tells him, waving the scissor in his face, “I’m going to punish you for all the girls you’ve fooled into going to bed with you.” And down with the scissor…
Xia Hejie wakes up in a startle. It’s just a dream.
How did it really play out? Xia Hejie remembers with painful clarity.
Xiaoqian had asked for time, instructing Xie Hejie to count to 100 before he’s allowed to walk out of the shower. He cheated and came out on count 50 only to discover Xiaoqian had left with all his clothes. He chased out and got locked out wearing nothing but a towel. She who held the door key would not give it back until he remembers who she is (the Braces Girl from childhood). And he who found himself in a gauche situation would not play the guess who game until she gives the key back. Stalemate it is, so the tug-o-war of what looks like an extreme version of PDA – or mutual attraction in vehement denial – ensued. And it looked as suggestive as it sounds.
At length, she escaped to the staircases, luring him in with her. He followed hastily and in his neglect, a piece of his towel got caught between the doors. Xiaoqian saw it and pulled it away from him, leaving Xia Hejie stark naked in the staircase. Aha, a good spin on the all too typical romantic date.
It was humiliation left and right, but fear nothing because Xia Hejie is a charmer. He slipped into a room, thinking his nightmare is over. Far from it, an old, horny American lady approached him and… she pounced lustily. (Eww)
The next day when Xia Hejie and Ma Xiaoqian see each other, it’s awkward, awkward, AND awkward. Xiaoqian avoids Xia Hejie at every corner. What’s puzzling – to Da Mao – is that Xia Hejie seems to develop a strange fondness for this plain kindergarten teacher who embarrassed him a hundred times over. He even catches his boss smiling while watching Xiaoqian interacting with the kids. His boss’s concerned look and his out of character low key treatment to this morning’s tabloids, which caught his date with Xiaoqian on film, is especially alarming. Could it be that his boss, the alleged playboy, is slowly falling in love?
Xia Hejie of course denies such a possibility. He explains that he was smiling because Xiaoqian reminds him of his childhood neighbor, a girl with braces whose dream was to build a kindergarten. Oh the irony.
Soon the day comes to an end and it’s time to take the children home. Usually the principal does the job in this three-people staffed teaching facility but today, he’s heading to a blind date and offloads the duty to Xia Hejie. The situation puts Hejie and Xiaoqian in the same vehicle and forces them to interact. They do so grudgingly, last night’s incident still fresh in mind.
Then a situation arises. While dropping off a little girl on a road under construction, a flashy sports car stops behind the loading bus. The impatient driver honks at Xia Hejie repeatedly, wanting the bus to move out of his way. Unfortunately the girl who is to get off the bus dropped her new crayon box and couldn’t find one of the crayons. She refuses to get off until her missing crayon is found. (There is no getting between a kid and her crayon.) The delay causes the driver behind to honk some more.
When dealing with someone so abrasive, it’s hard not to return the negativity. So Xia Hejie, not to be messed with, gets off the bus and approaches the driver in his usual swagger. The driver, welcoming the head on collusion, gets off his orange sports car to face Xia Hejie.
The exchange is unpleasant (but thrilling in a testosterone fueled, competing-for-alpha-male kinda way).
The two men recognize each other — both are well known in their own domain — and aren’t shy about their disdain toward the other. The driver, a rich CEO by the name of Meng Chengen, dislikes Xia Hejie for his playboy reputation and his traversing from one woman to the next without respecting the female gender. Xia Hejie on the other hand, despises Meng Chengen for his wealth and the way he flaunts that hard-earned wealth he inherited from his father.
I liked how Little Top’s maternal issue is revealed early — the drama didn’t need to talk down to its viewers, we’ve seen too many dramas with their birth secrets and well protected untruths to predict as much. But with the secret disclosed in an understated way, the characters’ intentions and subsequent motivations become clearer to us and they make sense.
Amanda isn’t a 18 year old débutante anymore. A plate of rice noodles from the past, while thoughtful, isn’t enough to bring down her defenses. She’s got much to lose being a single mother and a celebrity. But when Xia Hejie saved Little Top and received the boy’s affection, it changed the equation. Now Amanda is beginning to take notice of Xia Hejie on a different level for the sake of her son. Because of this child factor, her later entering into the love quadrilateral will be more believable and will garner more sympathy when her feelings aren’t returned. But it also means it will make it harder for her to let go.
I’ve said this in the recap, I liked how a conventional romantic dinner at a high end restaurant turned out unconventional. It’s this kind of humorous spin on an otherwise banal scene that sets this drama apart from the other over-the-top TW dramas and I appreciate that.